Will Removing Menthol From Cigarettes Improve Health?


Editor’s Note:  The following commentary by Geoffrey C. Kabat, Ph.D., a cancer epidemiologist at the at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, concludes that “our study indicates that smoking mentholated cigarettes does not appear to influence risk over and above the effect of smoking per se.”


By Geoffrey C. Kabat

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently considering whether to ban the use of menthol as an additive to cigarettes. Mentholated cigarettes account for roughly 30 percent of cigarettes sold in the United States, and they are favored by African-American smokers by roughly a threefold margin compared to white smokers. They are also favored by women smokers. A major aspect of the FDA charge is to determine whether use of mentholated cigarettes is more harmful than use of non-mentholated cigarettes.

Altria and Liggett join anti-smokers in pressuring roll-your-own shops

Bloomberg  News

GREENSBORO — Todd Ridge stopped smoking Camel Lights last year after taxes pushed the price to $4.60 a pack. Now he makes his own cigarettes at the Liberty Tobacco store in Archdale, cutting his habit’s cost in half.

Over the past 4-1/2 years, mom-and-pop stores have installed more than 1,900 roll-your-own cigarette machines in 42 states, according to RYO Machines, which makes them. Taking advantage of a loophole in federal tax laws, some retailers are selling tobacco labeled as the pipe variety, which is taxed less, even though it often winds up in cigarettes.

Summary Box: FDA panel says dissolvable tobacco could reduce health risks versus cigarettes

By Associated Press

THE NEWS: A Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory panel says dissolvable tobacco products could reduce health risks compared with smoking cigarettes but also have the potential to increase the overall number of tobacco users.

THE DRAWBACK: Despite its findings after months of public meetings and presentations, the panel noted that there’s a lack of research on the products that account for a small share of the market.


Cigarette Warning Labels Upheld By Appeals Court


Following a federal court decision that graphic warning labels were unconstitutional, an appellate court has ruled that requiring cigarette warning labels are not a violation of free speech, rather they fall under commercial speech disclosures, are disclosing the health risks of cigarettes and are reasonably related to the government’s interest of preventing the deception of consumers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a ruling on the appeal of a 2009 lawsuit challenging numerous FDA tobacco regulations, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) reported.

Where Are These People Coming From?


Editor’s Note: CRE is generally in sync with a number of statements made on CSPNet.Com—a website sponsored by the retailing industry. Regarding the menthol proceeding, CSPNet.com states: “the extensive delay has become the butt of jokes and doubts about the FDA’s ability to truly oversee the complex tobacco industry.”

We fail to understand why  it is a joke when a federal agency works in a diligent manner to base its analyses and decisions on sound science and therefore not act in an arbitrary fashion to address an alleged delay which is not at all that  extensive given the complexity and myriad of  issues the FDA is addressing.

2 New Developments That Could Push Big Tobacco Much Higher

SeakingAlpha. Com

Another day, another series of legal challenges for the tobacco companies. Is their any industry other than the tobacco industry where the legal and regulatory environment has been more treacherous over the last several decades? While the big three, Altria (MO), Reynolds (RAI), Lorillard (LO), faced their biggest legal challenges in the 1990s, the onslaught of constant civil litigation against these companies has continued. While the S&P 500 (SPY) has outperfomred most tobacco and other consumer staple names this year, most major U.S. tobacco companies have outperformed major index funds by a large margin over the last several decades.

Senators Call for Appeal on Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

By Conan Milner
Epoch Times
The toughest tobacco warning labels in history were set to make their mark on cigarette packages later this year. Now a group of U.S. senators are pushing for an appeal to a recent decision that finds the new labels unconstitutional.

Five U.S. senators (all Democrats) sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week in a call to action. Legislators say a “misguided ruling” from a U.S. District Court “threatens to undermine efforts to prevent the deadly impacts of smoking.”

Forced speech on tobacco firms threatens free speech for all


March 10, 2012|By Tom Keane

 Boston Globe

FREE SPEECH has been in the news lately. In the wake of Rush Limbaugh calling a Georgetown law student a “slut,’’ the ubiquity of vile commentary has caught public attention. CNN contributor Roland Martin tweeting an anti-gay comment and liberal talk show host Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a “dumb [expletive]’’ are just two more examples of a coarsening of political discourse that treats the ad hominem as argument and polarizes rather than illuminates.

FDA Appealing Cigarette Warning Label Decision

FDA Appealing Cigarette Warning Label DecisionChallenging ruling tossing out graphic image requirement as violation of free speech
CSP Daily News | March 6, 2012

WASHINGTON The U.S. government has appealed a federal judge’s ruling throwing out requirements for graphic warning labels regarding the health risks of cigarettes, said a Bloomberg report.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has filed a notice of appeal in U.S. District Court in Washington seeking to overturn Judge Richard Leon’s February 29 decision that the government’s rule violates the tobacco companies’ rights to free speech.

Menthol myth goes up in smoke


Last summer, the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) released a report that was supposed to help guide the FDA in deciding whether to ban menthol cigarettes from the market. Instead of issuing a specific recommendation, however, the TPSAC report merely suggested that the agency should consider all of the potential effects of a menthol ban if it does consider such a policy. Unlike TPSAC, however, ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross has a strong opinion on the potential menthol proscription: He thinks it’s a bad idea. “The rationale for such a ban is flawed, and the repercussions will be dangerous for public health,” he says.

Obama delay of costly regulation robs GOP of election attack line

 Andrew Zajac

March 2 (Bloomberg) — The Obama administration’s delay of costly regulations, including one to require rearview cameras on cars and light trucks, weakens a Republican line of attack ahead of the election.

President Barack Obama has been hammered by Republicans for promulgating expensive rules, and the party’s front-runner for the presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, vows to do away with “job-killing regulation.” The camera requirement, mandated by a 2008 law signed by Republican President George W. Bush, was listed by the Obama administration last year as one of the five most expensive pending regulations, with an estimated price tag of as much as $2.7 billion.

Judge: FDA can’t force cigarette makers to use graphic warnings

Editor’s Note:  FDA has lost the single most high profile issue on the maiden voyage of the Center for Tobacco  Products.   CTP  is need of a serious post mortem to ensure that the agency has in place procedures that result in regulations  that are  not only  supported by prevailing law but are science based.  To this end  CTP should invite  public suggestions on how its evalution procedures could be improved while  the agency is in its infancy.

By Sara Forden

Bloomberg NewsThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration was blocked Wednesday by a federal judge from requiring tobacco companies to put graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging.

Center for Tobacco Products off to a Good Start on Developing Science Based Regulations.


 Yesterday CTP held a meeting, chaired by Dr. Ashley, aimed at describing its research program. The agency described in considerable detail the wide range  of research programs it was undertaking.

 The program was highly interactive in that it was not the normal drab program of technical wonks speaking in a monotone to a dazed audience. Instead each panel was followed by a lively discussion of relevant issues.

 CTP made it clear that the purpose of the meeting was not only to educate the audience of what it was doing but that CTP was  interested in the scientific undertakings of those attending the meeting.