The U.S. government has begun to lay out its long-awaited plan to ban menthol cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the proposal would reduce disease and death by helping smokers quit and stopping younger people from starting.

Menthol accounts for more than one-third of cigarettes sold in the nation.

Its cooling effect has been shown to mask the throat harshness of smoking, making it easier to start and harder to quit smoking.

The FDA has tried several times in the past to get rid of menthols but faced pushback from Big Tobacco.