FDA panel finds ban on menthol cigarettes would ‘benefit the public health’ – The Washington Post

The menthol question will be the first real test of how aggressively the FDA intends to regulate tobacco. Congress passed landmark legislation in 2009 that put tobacco under the authority of the FDA for the first time. The law prohibits the agency from outlawing tobacco or nicotine but gives it broad authority to regulate the ingredients in cigarettes and the way they are marketed.

Congress banned candy and spice flavorings such as chocolate and clove, saying cigarette makers used those products to hook youngsters into a lifetime addiction. But it exempted menthol from the ban, saying it wanted the FDA to study the issue and report by 2012 whether restrictions on it would serve the public health.

A coalition of anti-smoking groups hailed the panel’s findings.

“The committee’s conclusions leave no doubt that menthol cigarettes have had a profound adverse impact on public health in the United States, resulting in more smoking and more death and disease from tobacco use,” the coalition said. “Now the FDA must act expeditiously and implement the committee’s recommendation.”

via FDA panel finds ban on menthol cigarettes would ‘benefit the public health’ – The Washington Post.

Oh boy…I wonder how much this will drive up the value of Newports in prison… Looks like menthol smokers are going to be forced into doing the same thing clove smokers did a few years ago…start importing via the internet, and save money in the process. Though, while cloves are often able to get through legal loopholes (not really cigarettes, but usually classified more as “organic imports,” at least when sold in packs that include other than 20 units), menthol cigarettes will probably turn this into a slightly more risky prospect, thanks to the ATF. On the other hand, it would feasibly be legal, depending how the legislation went, to order them AND declare them for tax reasons, because FDA bans tend to be restrictions on sellers, not on what people can possess. The absinthe ban is an example of this, because you can quite legally go online and purchase some Verte Suisse from France, but you CAN’T turn around and sell it in the US, regardless of your liquor license status.

Anyway, it’s just the panel findings, not actual law yet, so feel free to stockpile in the meantime. And expect this to turn into law pretty soon.

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