Area reactions to FDA potential ban of menthol cigarettes

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Food and Drug Administration announced it will renew efforts to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

A ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars would influence tobacco sales. Those whose sell these products don’t believe this is something that will happen soon.

Joe Lackey, president of the Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Association, says Indiana makes around $20 million per month on tobacco taxes but the market continues its downward spiral for tobacco sales.

“I don’t anticipate it’s going to happen anytime soon but in the interim, our tobacco sales are dropping about five percent a year because people are moving away from tobacco products,” said Lackey.

Those who work to make the area more tobacco-free believe this a great step in the right direction.

“Tobacco free Vigo, we’re ecstatic to see that,” Sarah Knoblock, coordinator of Vigo County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation. “The FDA moving towards banning menthol products. This is definitely decades of work to end kind of this product that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.”

Lackey explained that many residents from other states visit Indiana to buy products due to cheaper prices.

“In Terre Haute, next door to a state that has tremendously high tobacco prices, you have a lot of people from Illinois coming over to buy tobacco right there in Terre Haute,” said Lackey. “That’s good for the state because the state picks up a lot of tax dollars not from Hoosiers.”

Knoblock says she will continue the fight against tobacco as it hurts individuals who become addicted to the contents in menthol cigarettes.

“End game, of course, we would love all, you know, tobacco products like that to be removed because it is the number one preventable cause of death,” said Knoblock.

She said the ban could help close the gap in health disparities and by taking these products off the market, it could help individuals who are trying to quit.

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