One of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's top brands faces a challenge after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced an upcoming prohibition on menthol flavoring in cigarettes and cigars.
Reynolds acquired the Newport brand in a merger with Lorillard in 2015. The company says it's the nation's top-selling menthol brand.
The FDA now says it's moving forward with a ban on menthol cigarettes like Newport. The agency says the move will reduce the appeal of cigarettes to younger consumers.
The FDA also notes that marketing for menthol products often targets Black communities. For example, researchers found that price promotions for Newports were more common in retailers serving predominantly Black neighborhoods.
British American Tobacco, Reynolds' parent company, released a statement saying there are better ways than banning menthol to reduce the risks from tobacco.
The company says other markets where similar bans have been put in place have not shown a reduction in cigarette consumption.