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Menthol report barred over conflicts of interest within FDA advisory panel

| July 22, 2014

A federal judge ruled yesterday that the US Food and Drug Administration cannot use an advisory panel’s 2011 report on menthol cigarettes because its members had conflicts of interest, according to a story by Michael Felberbaum for the ColumbusRepublic.

Felberbaum reported that while the agency had since conducted an independent review on the public health impact of menthol cigarettes, the ruling could hinder the FDA’s ability to defend any future regulation of such products.

US District Court Judge Richard Leon ordered the FDA to reconstitute the tobacco panel and barred the agency from using its older report on menthol cigarettes.

Lorillard and Reynolds American sued the agency in 2011 alleging conflicts of interest and bias by several members of the panel tasked with advising the FDA on tobacco-related issues.

The agency argued that the panel met federal standards and that the cigarette manufacturers’ ‘alleged injuries are entirely speculative’.

In his order, Leon said the FDA erred in determining that the members didn’t have conflicts of interest and therefore, the agency’s appointment of those members was “arbitrary and capricious”, and tainted both the panel and its work.

“Conflicts of interest – whether actual or perceived – undermine the public’s confidence in the agency’s decision-making process and render its final product suspect, at best,” he wrote.

Homeopathic liquid nicotine launched

| July 22, 2014

The Aquitine Group yesterday launched nation-wide in the US Aqua-tineTM, which is described as a colorless, odorless homeopathic liquid nicotine formulation designed specifically to satisfy tobacco cravings.

According to a press not issued through PRNewswire, Aqua-tine is an alternative to traditional and electronic cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco.

‘The product comes in airtight 2.4 ml individually sealed packets,’ the press note said. ‘The liquid contents of each Aqua-tine packet are mixed into a beverage of one’s choice and then consumed.’

The company said that up to two of the 2.4 ml packets could be consumed each hour, though it does not recommend using Aqua-tine with energy drinks or alcohol.

Aquino signs law on graphic warnings

| July 22, 2014

President Benigno Aquino III has signed a law that will require the inclusion of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs sold in the Philippines, according to a story at GMA News Online.

The new law (R.A. 10643: ‘An Act to Effectively Instil Health Consciousness through Graphic Health Warnings on Tobacco Products’) will require that the bottom half of the front and back panels of cigarette packs are given over to the warnings.

There will be 12 different warnings, which are scheduled to be changed every two years.

Risk of third-hand smoke exposed

| July 22, 2014

Research led by the UK’s University of York has highlighted the potential cancer risk in non-smokers – particularly young children – of tobacco smoke gases and particles deposited on surfaces and dust in the home, according to a HealthCanal story.

The story said that until now, the risks of this exposure to what is known as ‘third hand tobacco smoke’ have been ‘highly uncertain’ and not considered in public policy.

‘However, a new study published in the journal, Environment International, has estimated for the first time the potential cancer risk by age group through non-dietary ingestion and dermal exposure to third hand smoke,’ the story said.

‘The results indicate potentially severe long-term consequences, particularly to children.’

CORESTA registration deadlines near

| July 22, 2014

The organizing committee of CORESTA 2014 has advised that the ‘Earlybird’ registration deadline for the forthcoming CORESTA Congress is August 1.

Up until that date, participants will be able to register for a fee lower than will apply after August 1.

Registration is available at www.coresta2014.org, where hotel accommodation at the congress venue can also be booked.

Online registration will close on September 15, following which only onsite registration will be available.

The congress is due to be held at the Château Frontenac, Québec City, Canada, on October 12-16.

The theme of the congress is ‘Building on experience to shape the future’.

Poland to file complaint over TPD

| July 21, 2014

The Polish government has decided to file a complaint with the Court of Justice of the European Union against the EU’s new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), according to a Polish News Bulletin story.

The new TPD entered into force on May 20 and member states are required to bring into force by May 20, 2016, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive.

The complaint is due to be filed under Article 263 of the Treaty, which covers the functioning of the EU.

It will be based on both legal and economic arguments.

Poland will object to the proposed ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes, due to come into force in 2020, on the grounds that this type of cigarette has been on the Polish market since 1953 and could be regarded as a traditional product.

Poland is one of the biggest consumers of menthol cigarettes, which account for more than 20 per cent of the local market.

Menthol cigarettes are said to be manufactured in six factories in Poland, with 70 per cent of the output exported, 50 per cent to the EU, which implies that outlawing the sale of such products would have serious consequences for Poland’s economy.

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