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FDA Extends Public Input Period for Menthol Decision

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- A decision on the fate of menthol cigarettes is still up in the air as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) looks for more input.

According to an update from the agency's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), the FDA published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a 60-day extension of the comment period for the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking additional information to help the agency make informed decisions about menthol in cigarettes.

Specifically, the FDA is requesting information to inform its thinking about potential regulatory options, such as establishing tobacco product standards, sale and distribution restrictions, and other regulatory actions and considerations.

The agency initially issued the ANPRM on July 23, as CSNews Online previously reported. The move came as the FDA released a preliminary independent evaluation, Preliminary Scientific Evaluation of the Possible Public Health Effects of Menthol Versus Nonmenthol Cigarettes, which found that "the preliminary scientific evaluation indicates there is likely a public health impact [from] menthol in cigarettes."

In a briefing that same afternoon, however, Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's CTP, stressed that the agency was entering an "information-seeking mode" and not issuing a final ruling just yet. 

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