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Tobacco Industry at Table as FDA Mulls Regulations

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Three representatives of the tobacco industry will be part of a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel charged with issuing recommendations on issues such as allowing menthol flavorings in cigarettes and use of the term “light” on cigarette packaging, Dow Jones reported Aug. 25.

The 12-member panel will look at a variety of issues that were not explicitly resolved by the new law empowering the FDA to regulate tobacco. For example, the legislation passed by Congress bans the use of most cigarette flavorings, but not menthol.

The panel also is likely to be involved in making recommendations on marketing of smokeless-tobacco products, which the industry would like to cast as a safer alternative to smoking. The law says companies cannot market tobacco products as “reduced risk” unless there's proof to support the claim.

Nominations of panel members are currently being solicited. The membership will include eight experts in medicine, medical ethics and tobacco technology, three nonvoting representatives of the tobacco industry, and one member of the general  public.

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