North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban menthol cigarettes. He joined a bipartisan group of 23 attorneys general in signing a letter to the FDA.

Stein released a statement saying that menthol cigarettes are easier to smoke by design, and marketed in ways that disproportionately harm young people and people of color.

The letter sent to the FDA argues that an immediate prohibition would save thousands of lives. It points to the FDA's own data that the continued popularity of menthol cigarettes remains a major barrier when it comes to smoking cessation.

Stein's participation is notable because of North Carolina's status as a major tobacco-growing state.

Winston-Salem tobacco manufacturer Reynolds American, Inc. produces the Newport brand of menthol cigarettes, which according to their website is the top-selling menthol brand in the U.S. The company also produces the Vuse line of e-cigarettes.

Stein has previously led efforts to curb the marketing of e-cigarettes to young people.

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