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Tobacco manufacturers have used menthol cigarettes for years to target vulnerable populations.  In fact, according to national surveys, menthol cigarettes are the source of addiction for nearly half of all teen smokers.  Menthol increases the palatability of smoking, especially among youth and members of racial and ethnic populations, and menthol increases the difficulty of quitting. Yet when Congress prohibited most cigarettes with flavorings as part of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, it exempted the most important flavoring of all: menthol. 

This section contains resources on menthol in tobacco products and federal, state and local policy options for regulating menthol in tobacco products.

January 15, 2016: Ruling Allows FDA Action on Menthol

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created a group of scientists called the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) to guide agency decision-making. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act directed TPSAC to take up the issue of menthol tobacco products as its first order of business. A TPSAC report on menthol was quickly challenged and thrown out by a district court judge sympathetic to the tobacco industry, preventing the FDA from moving forward. This changed on January 15, when a circuit court reversed the earlier district court decision based on an appeal from the FDA. 

Click here to read about the court decision allowing the FDA to act on menthol flavored tobacco products.


E-cigarettes and liquid

Menthol Toolkit

A collection of resources created by the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium at the Public Health Law Center for state and local advocates to educate themselves on menthol tobacco products, and find out how they can effect change in the sale and consumption of menthol tobacco products in their communities.

Federal Regulation of Menthol Tobacco Products

This page contains resources on the federal regulation of menthol in tobacco products, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC).

Webinar - Regulating Menthol Tobacco Products: The Current Policy Landscape (2016)

In this Tobacco Control Legal Consortium webinar, presenters describe litigation developments, the federal regulatory picture, and the national policy landscape in 2016, highlighting two active jurisdictions: Chicago, where enforcement has begun on its 2013 ordinance restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products within 500 feet of all city schools; and Minnesota, where the state health department and two cities are employing various approaches to reduce the use of menthol and other flavored tobacco products.