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Black Antismoking Group Drops Backing For Tobacco Bill

Reversing its position after a backlash among members, the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network says that a bill to regulate tobacco products fails to adequately protect the health of African-Americans because it would not ban menthol flavorings from cigarettes.

The legislation, which has been cleared by crucial committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, would ban candy, fruit and spice flavorings in cigarettes, but specifically exempts menthol flavorings. That special protection for menthol has been considered crucial to getting the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, to support the legislation.

Menthol-flavored cigarettes account for more than 25% of the $70 billion domestic cigarette market. PM's Marlboro Menthol is the second-largest menthol brand behind Newport, made by Lorillard.

The bill still has the support of most public health organizations. Most cigarette companies oppose it.



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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