FDA aims to ban menthol cigarettes, impacts gas stations in the Valley

Alabama

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) – The FDA is signaling it wants people to put out menthol cigarettes once and for all. Gas stations in Phenix City are already hearing complaints from customers. 

For the Sunoco gas station on Highway 280 in Phenix City, cigarettes are a big seller– second only to gas. Of those cigarette sales, the #1 product is Newport Menthols. 

“I sell a lot when it comes to Menthol cigarettes,” store manager Paris Ward said. “I do about 20 cartons a week and when it’s time to reorder again sometimes I really don’t have anything left. So Newports Menthols are definitely a big sell here.”

In a statement the FDA said quote “This decision is based on clear science and evidence establishing the addictiveness and harm of these products and builds on important, previous actions that banned other flavored cigarettes in 2009.”

“Mainly a lot of my customers are speaking with me on it and given me a lot of negative feedback from it,” Ward said. “So I definitely can say my customers are not pleased at all.”  

Studies show that menthol increases the appeal of tobacco and facilitates progression to regular smoking, particularly among youth and young adults. The FDA’s proposal to ban menthol cigarettes is intended to decrease smoking in these groups. 

If implemented, the FDA’s ban will only address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers.

According to their statement, “[they] cannot and will not enforce against individual consumer possession or use of menthol cigarettes or any tobacco product.”

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