Menthol cigarettes are no more harmful than regular cigarettes,
tobacco industry representatives argued Thursday as a federal advisory panel opened a two-day meeting to consider whether to ban the sale of those cigarettes.
Menthol cigarettes, which account for one-quarter of all cigarettes sold in the United States, have been under scrutiny by public health officials and public health watchdog groups alike. Critics claim the flavor makes them more addictive and denounce the marketing campaigns for menthol cigarettes that are targeted specifically at minority smokers.
According to a study published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, menthol cigarettes are favored by three-quarters of African-American smokers.