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HomeNewsArchivesChristensen Wants Menthol Included in Flavored-Cigarettes Ban

Christensen Wants Menthol Included in Flavored-Cigarettes Ban

July 1, 2008 — If the U.S. Congress moves to ban candy-flavored cigarettes, Delegate Donna M. Christensen wants menthols included in the bill.
Christensen supports the House bill sponsored by Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat. She has met with former surgeon generals, Centers for Disease Control directors and cabinet secretaries who want the proposed law to include menthol cigarettes, as well.
"We are very aware and gravely concerned about the disproportionate incidence of lung cancer in the African-American community and, along with so many minority-health experts, have long been concerned about the role menthol may play, since 75 percent or more of African-American smokers smoke a mentholated brand," Christensen said.
The flavored-cigarette ban is a House add-on to a similar Senate bill, and there is no guarantee President George W. Bush will sign the bill with or without the flavor ban, said Christensen, who serves as chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.
"We have been working over the past few weeks with the bill’s House sponsor and the committee to address our concerns about menthol not being included when the other flavors were banned," she said. "My role and my responsibility, as I see it, is to do all I can to protect the health of African-Americans and other people of color, and important to that cause is to give FDA the authority to regulate tobacco, including a ban on menthol. However, if we don’t have a bill, that will never happen."
A House vote on the bill is expected after the July 4 holiday.
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