The US Food and Drug Administration is reportedly proposing a ban on menthol cigarettes. Per the New York Times, the agency said the proposal would come this week as part of a more aggressive stance against the tobacco. It's unclear how long it would take for such a plan to take effect and tobacco companies could drag out the process by challenging a ban. While regulators under previous administrations have considered similar moves, President Trump's current FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, has made the reduction of smoking-related disease a priority.
Menthol cigarettes have been identified by some experts as an even greater health risk than non-flavored cigarettes because the minty compound makes smoking feel less harsh and increases the potential for addiction. Gottlieb has not commented on the issue. As Bloomberg notes, news of the potential ban sent stocks of Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. falling on Friday. Shares of British American Tobacco, which makes Newport cigarettes, also took a nosedive, falling more on Friday than in the last four years. (The FDA has also signaled it plans to restrict sales of e-cigarettes.)