From the U.S. statement at today's DSB meeting:
• To come into compliance with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings, the United States has taken and is taking a number of actions in relation to menthol cigarettes. Today, the United States is announcing several actions by U.S. health authorities.
• First, the U.S. Food And Drug Administration is publishing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making concerning menthol cigarettes. The Notice initiates a process to receive public comment on potential regulatory options that the Food and Drug Administration might consider and seeks additional information. The Notice will be published in the U.S. Federal Register.
• Second, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is releasing its Preliminary Scientific Evaluation on the Possible Public Health Effects of Menthol Versus Nonmenthol Cigarettes. The Preliminary Scientific Evaluation addresses the association between menthol cigarettes and various outcomes, including initiation, addiction, and cessation. The Preliminary Evaluation includes a finding that the presence of menthol in cigarettes negatively affects cessation and attempts of smokers to quit smoking. The Preliminary Evaluation will be available for public comment.
• Third, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing the development of a youth education campaign that is designed to prevent and reduce demand for tobacco products and menthol cigarettes.
• Fourth, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be sharing information through the U.S. online hub for tobacco information and cessation tools, called BeTobaccoFree.gov, which was initially launched in November 2012. This online hub will provide information on the health risks posed by menthol cigarettes to raise awareness of those risks.
• Fifth, the National Cancer Institute will be educating the public on the health risks posed by menthol cigarettes through its website designed to help persons quit smoking, which is SmokeFree.gov.
• The health risks posed by using tobacco are well-documented, and the public health challenges posed by menthol cigarettes in particular are significant. In the United States, approximately 30 percent of adult smokers and 40 percent of all youth smokers report smoking menthol cigarettes. Raising awareness and educating about the health risks of tobacco can be a very important means to discourage its use.
• In light of the significant health challenges posed by menthol cigarettes, these actions by U.S. health authorities bring the United States into compliance with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute within the reasonable period of time for compliance, which expires on July 24.
I suspect Indonesia will not be entirely happy with this approach. I'm less certain how anti-tobacco groups will react.