By MATTHEW PERRONE
AP Health Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has released its long-awaited plan to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The Food and Drug Administration said phasing out the mint-flavored cigarettes would save hundreds of thousands of lives by helping adult smokers quit. Menthol is the only cigarette flavor that was not banned under the 2009 law that gave the FDA authority over tobacco products. The Biden administration has been under pressure from African American groups and health advocates to eliminate the flavor. Menthol accounts for more than a third of cigarettes sold in the U.S, and the mint flavor is overwhelmingly favored by Black smokers and young people.