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FDA Looking Into Possible Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
DAYTON -- A possible ban on menthol cigarettes is in the works.
The FDA is looking at banning the mint-flavored smokes because they say they pose a greater health risk than their unflavored counterparts.
The agency's advisory committee started looking into menthol cigarettes in 2011, but hadn't made any public comment on a possible ban until now.
"The flavor of cigarettes is not why I smoke, they all taste like dirt in my opinion," said Michael Leonardi.
Leonardi is like thousands of smokers in Dayton, lighting up a menthol cigarette, which he started smoking at a young age.
We asked if a ban on them would have stopped him from smoking.
"They're putting way too much emphasis on the whole cigarette thing," he said. "There's a lot more harmful things out there that they need to be worried about."
A study of menthol cigarette smokers by the FDA found the minty flavor in those cigarettes is "likely associated with greater addiction."
"If you want to smoke cigarettes, you're just going to smoke cigarettes," said Jeffrey Ruzick.
Ruzick also disagrees with the agency's findings that the menthol cigarettes are geared toward kids and makes it easier for them to start smoking.
"I think that comes from the family and the parents and whoever they're surrounded by," he said. "I think that's what causes a kid to smoke."
"If it's picked up at an early age you know it starts from there and then before you know it they're into the years of smoking," said Daniel Morgan.
Morgan hasn't picked up a cigarette in his life, but thinks what the FDA is saying makes sense.
"Makes it easier for kids to pick up the habit to start smoking," he said. "It just makes it easier for them."
But even with differing opinions from smokers and non-smokers, Leonardi says the decision should be yours and yours alone.
"Don't smoke," he said. "It's expensive. But if you are going to smoke it should be your decision and not the governments."
The FDA has now issued a preliminary public health assessment and a formal notice for public comment.
They will also fund three additional studies on menthol cigarettes.
That would happen before any sort of ban or new rules would be issued.
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