Possible menthol product ban provokes strong reaction in Philadelphia

Could there soon be a ban on menthol cigarettes? The FDA is giving the idea another try, but how do smokers feel about it?

"There might be a riot. We need our nicotine," Dawn said.

Dawn says there may be no stronger brand loyalty in North Philadelphia than the one folks feel for Newport menthol cigarettes.

"I don’t know. They’re fresh. Mentholly. I like it!" Dawn exclaimed.

"If you couldn’t smoke Newport, what would you smoke?" FOX 29’s Hank Flynn asked.

"Nothing," another smoker replied. "I’d jump in the river."


That’s a long way to go. But, menthol lovers may need to find alternative smoke sources and soon, if the FDA follows through on plans to ban menthol smoking products.

"Them Newport menthols go out of style? I’m going to be smoking on the Vape," said another smoker.

The ban would be on all flavors of cigar and on menthol, the only flavor still legally allowed in cigarettes. Pediatrician Dr. Julie Morita, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the CDC, says the ban would be a big step toward better health and health equity.

"These menthol products are dangerous products. They have been marketed specifically toward our communities of color, so we can see that 85 percent of Black smokers use menthol products. They’ve also been targeted toward our young people. So, we can see that 50 percent of smokers who are young people started with menthol products," Dr. Morita said.

From the loyalty comes the value. Philly police releases video of a commercial robbery back on the 28th of April, at the 7-Eleven at Cottman and Pennway. Sure, they took money and cigarettes, Newports and Newport Lights only. Every pack.

"But, the people are going to find their way to get their menthol cigarettes. If it comes illegal, or whatever. They’re going to find a way to get their cigarettes," an additional smoker stated.

Menthol was first added to cigarettes back in the 1920s. Canada banned menthol in 2017 and, since then, some estimates have it that Canada has seen a 21 percent reduction in smoking nationwide. Overall. The FDA is accepting public comment on the subject until July 5th, after which, it is expected to make its final ruling.

Anyone interested in contacting the FDA for comment can do so here.