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FDA announces plan to ban menthol cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration says getting rid of menthol cigarettes could prevent hundreds of thousands of smoking deaths over the next few decades.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Menthol cigarettes could become a thing of the past.

This comes after the FDA announced a plan to ban sales of menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars in the United States.

"I think that's bad for people that do smoke. It's just a personal opinion I guess," said India Marrazzo, Moosic.

Menthol has a minty taste. The FDA says that's what makes it appealing to certain people and age groups.

Menthol cigarettes make up about one-third of the cigarette market, and more than 15 million Americans smoke them, including Jay Lilly from Scranton.

"I'm not really a fan of it, I guess. A lot of people smoke menthol cigarettes so by cutting it out is just asking for a whole bunch of trouble," said Lilly.

The attempt has been made before by the FDA but received a lot of push back.

Lilly thinks if the ban happens, it could hurt businesses that sell the products.

"Your standard gas station, smoke shops, all those outlets. Menthol cigarettes are a huge thing for a lot of those companies," said Lilly.

Christopher Campbell from Scranton doesn't smoke menthols, but he smokes. He thinks it should be up to the smoker.

It's just a personal choice that people have and it shouldn't be regulated," said Campbell.

An FDA ban on menthol and flavored cigars won't go into effect right away.

Public hearings and listening sessions are planned throughout the summer.

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