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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health advocates are pressing the Food and Drug Administration to ban menthol-flavored tobacco products, years after other flavors were banned.

The big picture: Congress gave menthol a pass when it banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, but advocates are highlighting the products' disproportionate use among Black smokers, at a time when policymakers are especially attuned to racial inequities in health.

  • A new report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids highlights tobacco companies' aggressive marketing of menthol cigarettes, which can be more harmful than non-menthol products, in Black communities.
  • Massachusetts and California have already banned menthol cigarettes; Connecticut and Maryland are considering similar laws.

What's next: The FDA has said it will make a decision by late April, in response to a lawsuit filed by public health advocates.

Go deeper

Feb 24, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota teens aren't quitting vaping

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minnesota teens continue to vape at concerning rates, despite a federal law raising the tobacco sales age to 21.

By the numbers: One in five high schoolers used an e-cigarette in 2020, according to the latest Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations were "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand, which were later lifted.