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.
On July 23, 2013 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments and additional information related to potential regulatory options it might consider for the regulation of menthol in cigarettes beyond existing regulations for all cigarettes. In addition, the FDA announced that it is funding new research on, among other things, the differences between menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes to obtain information to assist FDA in making informed decisions related to potential regulation of menthol in cigarettes. The FDA has established a 60-day comment period for the ANPRM and it will "consider all comments, data, research, and other information submitted to determine what, if any, regulatory action with respect to menthol in cigarettes is appropriate."
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 of menthol as an additive in cigarettes on the public health. One provision of the law mandated that the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) submit a report and recommendation on the use of menthol in cigarettes to the FDA.
In March 2011, TPSAC provided its non-binding report and recommendation (TPSAC Report) on menthol to FDA. At the same time, Lorillard and other industry stakeholders submitted to FDA a report reviewing the available science on menthol. "The Industry Menthol Report" summarized scientific evidence demonstrating that "there is no scientific basis to support the regulation of menthol cigarettes any differently than nonmenthol cigarettes."
The Industry Report further showed the potential countervailing effects of any restriction in availability, including the likelihood of fueling an already illegal market in cigarettes that could overwhelm any potential public health benefit.
After the TPSAC Report and the Industry Report were provided to FDA, the FDA began its own assessment of menthol. On July 23, 2013, along with issuing the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FDA made available its peer-reviewed assessment, "Preliminary Scientific Evaluation Of The Possible Public Health Effects Of Menthol Versus Nonmenthol Cigarettes"
Recent Scientific Studies
Since the TPSAC and Industry Reports were provided to FDA in 2011, two new scientific studies of note have been added to the body of scientific evidence that demonstrate that menthol cigarettes are not more dangerous than nonmenthol cigarettes. For more information click here.