For those of you following the WTO Clove Cigarettes dispute, this will no doubt be of interest and could be discussed in the panel proceedings:
Removing menthol cigarettes from sale in the U.S. would benefit public health, members of an advisory panel said in a report that urged more studies.
A yearlong analysis shows the menthol flavor harms the public by luring more people to start smoking and making it harder to quit, outside Food and Drug Administration advisers said in a draft report that must be submitted to the agency by March 23. Lorillard Inc., maker of the top-selling menthol brand Newport, rose as much as 12 percent after analysts predicted that regulators will ultimately reject a ban.
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.
While panelists favored a ban, the report “doesn’t paint the FDA into a corner,” Patrick Hughes, an analyst with Height Analytics in Washington, said today in an interview. “It has certainly laid out an array of issues for FDA to address before they’re in any position to advance a rulemaking,” he said.
The FDA will issue an initial report on its review of the advisory panel’s findings in about 90 days, said Lawrence Deyton, director of the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products. The agency doesn’t have a timeline for deciding whether to restrict menthol sales, he said.
The advisory committee’s report “does not set FDA policy, does not set FDA actions, and FDA’s receipt of the final report will not have a direct and immediate effect on availability of menthol products,” Deyton said at today’s meeting.
That's from Bloomberg. Here is the advisory panel's report. I haven't read it, so I don't know whether it says anything of particular interest to the WTO dispute.