FDA Launches 60-Day Public Poll On Menthol Cigarettes

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-07_3852f4dfd4.jpgJoe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reaching out to the public to contribute to its menthol cigarette research. The FDA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Tuesday to "obtain additional information related to potential regulatory options it might consider, such as establishing tobacco product standards."

The ANPRM allows the public to submit comments, data, and research for 60 days.

The director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller, said, “FDA’s actions today on menthol reflect our commitment to explore all potential options, including the establishment of product standards. In the meantime, we will conduct new research to further inform our decision making."

After the 60-day period, if the FDA decides to issue a menthol cigarette regulation, the public's input will not go away. "The first step in that process would be a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which would give the public an opportunity to weigh in on the specifics of the proposed rule," says the FDA.

Even if the 60-day research does not lead to a menthol ban, the FDA says it is also creating "a youth education campaign focused on preventing and reducing tobacco use, including menthol cigarettes."

About 30 percent of adult smokers and more than 40 percent of youth smokers in the U.S. smoke menthol cigarettes, the FDA reports.

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