No Disproportionate Impact on Public Health
This website provides scientific information about menthol and its use in cigarettes. Your host is William R. True, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Lorillard Tobacco Company. Dr. True joined Lorillard Tobacco Company in 2002. Earlier in his career, he worked in executive and scientific positions for major U.S. corporations. He has a doctorate in organic chemistry from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
In 2009, a new federal law - the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act - set in motion a science-based process to evaluate the impact on public health of menthol as an additive in cigarettes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing comments to a preliminary scientific evaluation of menthol cigarettes that it issued in 2013 to meet its obligations under the law. FDA also is in an information-seeking mode, awaiting results of several additional studies it commissioned in 2013, some of which are long-term studies.
Ultimately, we believe sound regulatory science will show there is no justification for regulating menthol cigarettes any differently than nonmenthol cigarettes.
Timeline and Key Documents
2011.In March 2011, the FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) provided a non-binding report and recommendation on menthol to FDA.
At the same time, Lorillard and other industry stakeholders submitted to FDA "The Industry Menthol Report," which summarized scientific evidence. It demonstrated that "there is no scientific basis to support the regulation of menthol cigarettes any differently than nonmenthol cigarettes."
The Industry Report also showed the potential countervailing effects of any restriction in availability, including the likelihood of exacerbating the current illegal market in cigarettes, which would have adverse public health effects.
2013.FDA issued a scientific assessment in July 2013 and also issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. At the same time FDA announced that it was funding new studies related to menthol in cigarettes, acknowledging that current evidence is insufficient to support disproportionate regulation on menthol cigarettes.
The period to comment on the two FDA documents closed in November 2013. Lorillard commented on the advance notice and in addition FDA received more than 200,000 comments from individuals, groups, public officials and others, the vast majority of which opposed disproportionate rules for menthol cigarettes.