Will the FDA Ban Menthol Cigarettes?
The Wall Street Journal wrote at the beginning of this month that with the decrease in cigarette smoking, companies like Altria and Reynolds have answered back with new products particularly in the arena of smokeless tobacco such as dip, chew, and snuff. However, Lorillard, famous for the Newport Menthol brand, has held fast in its refusal to delve into a smokeless product.
According to a report from the National Association of Convenience Stores, however, this decision may now prove devastating to Lorillard. At the turn of the New Year, the FDA will release the results of a study on the health effects of menthol cigarettes. Industry experts speculate that the FDA may ban menthol cigarettes based on the results of the study and as part of their authority over the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products. Approximately ninety percent of Lorillard’s income is generated from the sale of menthol cigarettes.
Murray Kessler, CEO of Lorillard, argues that the FDA will not enact the ban because the menthol cigarette industry is a $25-billion a year business and to eliminate it would create an economic firestorm for which the U.S. is ill-prepared. Because Kessler doubts the FDA’s ability to truly enact such a ban, he has insisted that Lorillard maintain its cigarette-only strategy.
Regardless of what occurs in the menthol tobacco industry vis à vis the FDA, many menthol cigarette smokers have already jumped ship and switched to an e cigarette method of menthol and nicotine delivery. E cigarettes are available in a variety of flavors. Several major traditional cigarette flavors are standard in the e cigarette industry, including Newport, Lorillard’s brand.
The ecigarette provides an end that renders all smoking bans moot because an ecigarette is both smokeless and tobacco-free. An e cigarette produces a water vapor that is odorless and disappears in several seconds, thus it can be “smoked” in venues where smoking is not allowed such as bars, workplaces, and airplanes. In addition, whereas flavored cigarettes have been banned by the FDA, e cigarettes are not a cigarette, per se, and consequently are not subject to the same bans.
While the smoking/non-smoking battles rage on in the United States with more and more communities enacting laws and ordinances that further restrict the smoking of cigarettes, e cigarette users have the freedom to enjoy their cigarettes whenever and wherever they choose. If you are a smoker of menthol cigarettes, do not wait to see if the government is going to ban your cigarettes. Make the switch to a menthol e cigarette today and bypass any government intervention whatsoever.