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FDA Panel Will Study Menthol Cigarettes

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, March 02, 2010 1:01 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Tobacco, Smoking, Heart Attack, Lung Cancer, FDA, Menthol, Cigarettes

Menthol cigarettes will be reviewed under the new authority of the FDA.

Menthol Cigarette Flavoring

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IMAGE SOURCE: UCSF video image from Newport TV commercial 1967/ Internet Archive Web site

An advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration will meet at the end of March to consider the safety of menthol flavoring in cigarettes.

Last June, the FDA won authority to regulate tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Under the law, the agency has the ability to ban certain products, limit nicotine and additives, and revisit promotions such as “low tar” and “light.”

Although the FDA does not have the authority to ban nicotine or tobacco altogether, it does have the authority to determine how ingredients are publicized and the scope and language of marketing of tobacco, especially to young smokers.

The FDA has a ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes for children.

A follow-up meeting is scheduled for later this year.

Menthol cigarettes deliver a minty flavor that uses the compound, menthol. About 12 million Americans smoke menthol cigarettes.

The outcome could be a blow for Lorillard, which makes the top-selling menthol cigarette, Newport. Other brands include Marlboro Menthol, American Spirits Menthol, Consulate and Camel Menthol.

About three-quarters of menthol cigarettes sold are to the African-American community. Antismoking advocates say the taste can lure smokers and may attract more to the addictive environmental health hazard.

The March meeting will focus on who is smoking menthol cigarettes, and how the added flavoring effects how cigarettes are smoked. This summer, a second meeting will focus on industry scientific research and documents.

The FDA panel of 12 includes three people, yet-to-be named, and nonvoting members from the tobacco industry, reports the AP.

Seven members come from the health field including Dr. Jonathan Samet, director of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Global Health and former director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins.

Associated Press reports on the other members:

The other members announced Monday are:

_ Dr. Neal Benowitz, nicotine and addiction specialist at University of California, San Francisco;

_ Dr. Mark Clanton, chief medical officer for American Cancer Society;

_ Dr. Gregory Connolly, professor at Harvard University School of Public Health and tobacco control expert;

_ Karen DeLeeuw, director of Center for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment;

_ Dorothy Hatsukami, director of University of Minnesota Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center;

_ Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson, vice president of Black Hills Center for American Indian Health;

_ Jack Henningfield, vice president of research and health policy for consumer health company Pinney Associates; and

_ Melanie Wakefield, director of Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at Cancer Council Victoria, a nonprofit in Australia. #


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