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The FDA is planning to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavors of cigars. The agency said the move would save lives by helping people quit and preventing new users. The FDA has not finished deliberations on whether to lower nicotine levels in all cigarettes. See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Food and Drug Administration is planning to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavors of cigars, saying the measure will help people quit smoking and keep young people from starting.

In a statement Thursday, the agency said the move “will help save lives,” though it did not specify when the ban would begin.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said the ban would help current smokers to quit the habit, keep young people from starting, and decrease health disparities in communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are more likely to use the tobacco products.

“We believe these actions will launch us on a trajectory toward ending tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S.,” Woodcock said in the release.

Menthol flavoring covers up the harshness of tobacco products and makes them more appealing to young people, the FDA said.

April 29, 2021

In a briefing following the announcement, Woodcock said the idea to lower nicotine levels in all cigarettes was “still under consideration.”

“It’s on the table but we have not finished deliberations on that matter,” she said on the call.

Woodcock also said President Joe Biden has been fully supportive of the move to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavors of cigars.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra also hailed the move.

“This science-based decision reflects the Biden Administration’s commitment to improve the health of all Americans and to tackle health disparities in our most marginalized communities. Tobacco-related death and disease must become a part of America’s past. These public health measures will save lives,” Becerra said in a statement.

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