FDA says will revive federal effort to ban menthol cigarettes, under pressure from interest groups

The announcement is the result of a lawsuit filed last summer by anti-smoking and medical groups.

Updated: April 29, 2021 - 11:37am

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The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday the agency will try again to ban menthol cigarettes, under pressure from African American groups to remove the mint flavor popular among black smokers.

The announcement was expected, based on earlier reports this week. The FDA has attempted several times to get rid of menthol but faced pushback from Big Tobacco, members of Congress and competing political interests in the Obama and Trump administrations, according to Associated Press.

Such a ban will take years to implement and likely face legal challenges from tobacco companies.

The announcement is the result of a lawsuit filed by anti-smoking and medical groups last summer to force the FDA to make a decision on menthol, alleging that regulators had “unreasonably delayed” responding to a 2013 petition seeking to ban the flavor.

The deadline for the agency’s response was Thursday, the wire service also reports.