Kretek International drops FDA lawsuit on clove cigars..

January 7, 2010 - Kretek International Inc.(KI) the top importer of clove-flavored cigars dropped a lawsuit Wednesday, January 6th against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that sought to prevent the agency from banning flavored cigars.

KI filed suit Wednesday, September 23rd in federal court to prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from banning flavored cigars.

In a statement, KI, importer and marketer of Djarum clove cigars, said it dropped a federal lawsuit against the agency that was filed last September after a federal ban against certain types of flavored cigarettes went into effect.

The move also comes after another federal court in Kentucky upheld most of FDA's authority to regulate tobacco products as part of a decision issued late Monday.

Officials from Kretek, a privately held firm based in Moorpark, Calif., were concerned the agency would try to ban its flavored cigars after the agency suggested it might go after products that were similar to cigarettes.

However, last month the agency posted information on its Web site about how it would regulate tobacco products. Kretek said the information "makes it clear that FDA will only be taking enforcement actions against tobacco products that meet the legal definition of a cigarette."

However, the company said it would refile a similar lawsuit if the FDA were to try to ban its clove cigars. The company noted that its Djarum clove-flavored cigars were classified as cigars by the U.S. Treasury Department's Tobacco Tax and Trade Board in 2007.

Last year, Congress gave FDA the authority to regulate tobacco and also called for a ban on all flavored cigarettes except for menthol.

The tobacco law does allow FDA to regulate cigars but requires the agency to first issue regulations deeming cigars to be subject to the law, a process that could take years.

Reference: Kretek International Drops FDA Lawsuit On Clove Cigars by Jennifer Corbett Dooren (, Dow Jones Newswires; The Wall Street Journal, 1/6/2010.

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