As smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States, healthcare facilities across the country continue to design campaigns to discourage the deadly habit.
The Federal Drug Administration’s Proposal banning menthol in cigarettes and all flavorings in cigars is the latest of these measures.
Ziyad Ben Taleb, assistant professor of kinesiology and tobacco control expert at the University of Texas at Arlington, explained how a flavor ban could reduce the initiation of new smokers and the total number of adult users.
Q: How does removing menthol and other flavors change the experience of smoking a cigarette or cigar?
A: The menthol and tobacco aromas mask the unpleasant harshness of tobacco products, making them easier to experience and use for teenagers. Studies show that the use of flavors such as menthol increases the attractiveness of tobacco and facilitates both initiation and progression to regular smoking, especially in adolescents and other vulnerable populations.
Q: Why are health experts recommending this ban?
A: The ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars is an urgent measure that is expected to save many lives, especially among vulnerable populations such as African Americans, Hispanics and LGBT communities who have historically been targeted by commercialization. menthol and flavored tobacco products. .
Additionally, this action will prevent otherwise nicotine naive teens from experimenting with menthol and flavored tobacco products, thereby protecting future generations from the grip of nicotine addiction and the health effects of smoking.
Q: What is the impact of cigarettes and cigars on health problems in the United States?
A: More than 16 million Americans are currently living with a disease caused by smoking. There is overwhelming evidence that smoking causes a variety of cancers and multiple chronic diseases, such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes.
Q: As a hookah and e-cigarette researcher, do you hope to see the same steps taken to regulate these activities?
A: Yes, I know that. For example, banning tobacco flavorings for hookah would prevent hookah initiation and reduce smoking rates in the United States. Our results showed that removing aromas resulted in reduced appeal and a less than satisfactory smoking experience. The same concept applies to electronic cigarettes.
Q: Are there safe alternatives to smoking cigarettes and cigars?
A: No form of tobacco product use is safe or risky.
Q: Do you have any advice for people who are trying to quit smoking?
A: There is an abundance of resources available for smokers who are trying to quit smoking. Those who are interested in stopping can visit smokeless.gov for useful resources. Smokers can also contact a licensed health care provider or call the Texas quitline