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US regulators renew scrutiny of menthol, tobacco flavors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials are taking a closer look at flavors in tobacco products that appeal to young people, particularly menthol-flavored cigarettes, which have escaped regulation despite nearly a decade of government scrutiny.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a call Tuesday for information about flavored tobacco products, with the aim of preventing children and young people from getting hooked on nicotine.

The agency will look at flavors in cigars and electronic cigarettes, which currently have no flavoring restrictions. But the focus will fall on menthol, the only flavor permitted in cigarettes under federal law.

Studies have shown the minty flavor appeals more to underage and young adult smokers.

The FDA has the authority to ban menthol but its past efforts to begin regulating the ingredient have been stalled by industry.


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