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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.

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Officials load a body into a vehicle at the site of the mass shooting in Indianapolis. Photo:

Eight people who were killed along with several others who were injured in a Thursday evening shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis have been identified by local law enforcement.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

Pompeo, wife misused State Dept. resources, federal watchdog finds

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The State Department's independent watchdog found that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules when he and his wife asked department employees to perform personal tasks on more than 100 occasions, including picking up their dog and making private dinner reservations.

Why it matters: The report comes as Pompeo pours money into a new political group amid speculation about a possible 2024 presidential run.