FDA wants to ban menthol cigarettes in U.S
Advisory Board of the Office of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that the ban on selling menthol cigarettes will have a positive impact on public health.
A yearlong analysis shows that the menthol in tobacco products is making smoking more attractive for beginners as well as making it harder to quit.
“The availability of mentholated cigarettes adversely affects the public health by increasing the number of smokers and, therefore, premature and preventable deaths,” – said a member of the Board, Chief Medical Officer American Association for Cancer Mark Clanton.
The FDA advisers’ non-binding report is required by a 2009 law that restricts tobacco marketing and bars cigarette makers from adding flavors such as clove or strawberry. An FDA conclusion that menthol cigarettes are more dangerous than unflavored versions may lead to a ban.
Menthol products account for about 30 percent of the $85 billion in annual U.S. cigarette sales.Lorillard Inc. (LO)’s Newport is the top-selling menthol brand with $5 billion a year in revenue, followed by Marlboro Menthol from Altria Group Inc. (MO) and Reynolds American Inc. (RAI)’s Camel Menthol, Kool and Salem, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
According to the director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products Lawrence Deyton, the results of the preliminary review report, agency experts will make public the in about 90 days. The agency doesn’t have a timeline for deciding whether to restrict menthol cigarettes, he said.
Lorillard and Reynolds have sued the FDA to block the agency from “receiving or relying on” the advisory panel’s recommendations. Three of the eight panel members have conflicts of interest, according to the complaint filed Feb. 25 in federal court in Washington.
The three panelists have served as paid witnesses in lawsuits against the tobacco industry and take money from drug companies that make smoking-cessation aids, Lorillard and Reynolds said in the complaint. Altria isn’t part of the suit.
- FDA panel: Menthol cigs hurt public health (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Tobacco industry: Menthol cigs don’t pose greater risk (thegrio.com)
- Big tobacco fights FDA on menthol cigarette ban (cbsnews.com)
- Tobacco cos: Menthol cigs don’t pose greater risk (sfgate.com)
- UPDATE 3-US advisers say teens’ menthol cigarette use rises (reuters.com)
- Potential Ban On Menthol Cigarettes Gets Big Tobacco’s Attention (huffingtonpost.com)
- Panel Considers Menthol-Cigarette Marketing (online.wsj.com)