Emmajeanne Blake says everyone she know who smokes, smokes menthol cigarettes. Studies show that most menthol smokers are African-American, and many of them are women.
Emmajeanne thinks she knows why. "I smoke when I am under stress," she said.
Other studies published today in the Journal Addiction claim that menthol makes it easier to get hooked and harder to quit. Marlon Alston knows all about it. "Seriously, look at me, I'm addicted. Seriously, I am," he said.
In Massachusetts, a man is suing the makers of mentholated Newport cigarettes for the wrongful death of his 54 year-old mother.
"The menthol smoking rates among minority communities are disproportionately high," said one anti-smoking group, "and to add insult to injury, once they do decide to quit, it is often more challenging for them to do so successfully."
But the makers of Newport deny that. "If menthol is banned," they claim.. "about 30 percent of all cigarettes would become illegal and would lead to the illegal sale of more dangerous cigarettes through an unprecedented underground market."
A decision would have to come from the Secretary of Health and Human Services. An FDA advisory committee is already hearing the evidence.
A recommendation could come as early as of March of next year.
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