New reports suggest health regulators have been battling with tobacco companies about a potential ban of cigarettes containing menthol.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being sued by the tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co and Lorillard Inc as they feel the FDA is wrongfully banning the ingredient.
Health officials have been analyzing the potential hazards of the minty ingredient in cigarettes and whether or not the menthol poses additional health risks.
Statistics from Euromonitor International explain that menthol cigarette sales account for nearly $85 billion each year, and account for around 30 percent of cigarette sales in the United States each year.
The highest selling cigarette brand is ‘Newport Menthols’, owned by Lorillard. The mentholated ‘Kool’ cigarette is owned by R.J. Reynolds.
A law passed in 2009 provided the FDA with power to make decisions on various tobacco products.
Health officials in favor of banning hazardous ingredients explain that the companies are nervous about the potential ban of mentholated cigarettes, and worry that the data will support the elimination of these brands. Health officials explain that cigarette companies are more worried about the bottom-line profit figures than the health of individuals.
The FDA will not comment on the issue until a final decision has been reached, which will probably be near the end of March 2011.