Clarifying TPSAC s menthol recommendation, or lack thereof

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In Friday’s Dispatch, we reported that the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) called for a ban on menthol cigarettes, but the committee didn’t actually go quite that far. The TPSAC report, without making any specific recommendations to ban or restrict the flavoring, simply stated that removing menthol cigarettes from the market would, in their opinion, benefit public health.

“They bent over backwards to say that they’re making no recommendations. Now, whether or not the FDA decides to ban or otherwise restrict menthol in cigarettes, they can refer to this ambiguous report as justification,” says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “Basically, the TPSAC has handed the FDA a blank check where the blank indicates any possible outcome. Further, the FDA will likely give much more consideration to the unintended consequences of effectively limiting or removing menthol, specifically the production of a huge tax-robbing, child-soliciting black market, to which TPSAC gave short shrift.”