March 2, 2011 - Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) draft report released on March 1st - menthol tobacco products may not increase smokers' risk of disease more than other cigarettes.
According to the report, released late Monday, March 1st there is insufficient evidence to show that menthol increases smoke inhalation, exposure to nicotine or disease risk. Analysts say the results are in line with expectations and echo what panel members had said in prior public meetings.
The draft report did say that menthol may mask the harshness of smoking and could be more attractive to young smokers.
"While the headlines read quite positively thus far pertaining to the release of these chapters, we believe this is quite one-sided," Stifel Nicolaus analysts wrote in a client note. "We cannot call these chapters a net positive for U.S. tobacco stocks," the firm said, as the section on youth initiation and smoking cessation was rather harsh.
Last week, Lorillard and Reynolds American sued to stop the FDA from drawing on the panel's recommendations, alleging conflicts of interest by several of the advisory group's members. (http://snus-news.blogspot.com/2011/02/rj-reynolds-tobacco-colorillard-tobacco.html)
The tobacco advisory panel will meet Wednesday, March 2nd to further discuss the potential public health risks of menthol products and will issue a final report to the FDA by March 23. The agency isn't required to follow the committee's recommendations.
TPSAC - Menthol Report: What to Expect??
References: FDA Panel:Menthol Doesn't Raise Smoker Risk, Concerns Remain by Melissa Korn, Published March 01, 2011 | Dow Jones Newswires; Menthol: 'Evidence Is Insufficient'
Menthol not shown to raise health risks of smoking, says draft of FDA TPSAC report, Convenience Store / Petroleum (CSP) Daily Newsw, 3/2/2011.