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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced proposed product standards to prohibit menthol flavor in cigarettes and prohibit all characterizing flavors in cigars. August 2nd is the deadline for public comments regarding the proposed ruling. The ruling aims to significantly reduce disease and death from combusted tobacco product use, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., by reducing youth experimentation and addiction, and increasing the number of smokers that quit. There are more than 18.5 million current menthol cigarette smokers ages 12 and older in the U.S., with particularly high rates of use by youth, young adults, and African American and other racial and ethnic groups.
Dr. J. Taylor Hays, Director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, fielded questions from reporters on the topic.
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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.