RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new project — led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) — will aim to help patients quit menthol cigarettes, which comes ahead of an anticipated ban by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes was initially proposed in April 2022 and had a deadline of August 2023 to reach a decision. A spokesperson for VCU said the FDA has announced it is “finalizing plans to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.”

The university said the project is supported by a new $3 million grant, which was awarded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Researchers will work in partnership with the National Medical Association — an organization that represents African American physicians and their patients — with the goal of increasing rates of quitting smoking and lung cancer screening among Black adults who smoke menthol-flavored cigarettes.

A spokesperson for the university said the study also aims to help providers and patients overcome social structural barriers that impede quitting and screening.