World Trade Organization Rules U.S. Ban on Clove Cigarettes is Discriminatory

A World Trade Organization appeals court this week upheld an earlier decision that a U.S. ban on clove cigarettes discriminates against Indonesia. The ban was designed to prevent youth from smoking.

The ruling found the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate the tobacco industry, violated global trade rules because it bans the production and sale of cigarettes with cloves and many other flavors, but not menthol.

Indonesia is the world’s main producer of clove cigarettes, and the vast majority of clove cigarettes consumed in the United States prior to the ban were imported from Indonesia, according to the ruling.

The Wall Street Journal reports a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the administration is “very disappointed” in the decision, but “will continue to vigorously pursue public-health measures in a way that is consistent with the United States trade obligations.”

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, “clove cigarettes are smoked disproportionately by children and facilitate youth smoking initiation and addiction.”

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