Senator Robert Singer’s legislation to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes in New Jersey has passed the Senate Health Committee.
Sen. Robert Singer’s legislation to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes has passed the Senate Health Committee. (Flickr)
“Smoking is the number one preventable killer in the United States,” said Singer (R-30). “While vaping is the latest public health crisis, menthol cigarettes have been causing cancer, respiratory issues, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and birth defects for decades. For many people, flavored cigarettes are easier to start smoking and tougher to quit. Restricting the sale of menthols will save lives.”
Senator Singer and Senator Joseph Vitale’s bipartisan bill, S-1947, would add menthol and clove cigarettes to the current prohibition against the sale and distribution of flavored cigarettes.
Menthol is a substance found in mint plants that creates a cooling sensation and masks tobacco flavor in both e-cigarettes and cigarettes. Those properties make menthol more appealing to first-time smokers and vapers, even as they pose the same health threats as non-menthol products.
Nearly nine out of ten African-American smokers prefer mentholated cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium has published that menthol cigarettes are the source of addiction for more than half of all teen smokers.
The NAACP has expressed support for a previously announced federal proposal by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban menthol cigarettes.
“Big tobacco disproportionally markets menthols to African-Americans, severely impacting their health and well-being,” added Singer. “By banning menthols, we can prevent a significant amount of the chronic disease and deaths caused by smoking in the African-American community, reduce the prevalence of youth smoking, and improve the health of New Jerseyans statewide. If you’re ready to quit smoking, go to www.njquitline.org or call 1-866-NJSTOPS.”
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