GREENSBORO, N.C., Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A senior executive of Lorillard, Inc. (NYSE: LO) urged a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel today not to lose sight of the congressional and FDA mandate to "follow the science" in developing its report and non-binding recommendation regarding the use of menthol in cigarettes.
William R. True, Ph.D., senior vice president of research and development for Lorillard, told the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee to "keep in mind that Congress' purpose of granting FDA with authority to regulate tobacco was to create order and supervision of the industry – not create chaos the likes of which have not been seen since prohibition."
While "scientific proof of a disproportional impact of menthol on public health does not exist, countervailing effects like black markets and increased crime are real and proven," True said.
The congressional mandate to the FDA and the advisory committee was to consider the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes on public health and to address countervailing effects of any recommendation, True said. Restriction on any market segment would have an impact on consumption, True said, but that is not what Congress asked the agency to do.
"You could impose restrictions on any taste preference segment in the market – whether menthol, non-menthol, lower tar, higher tar, filter or unfiltered cigarettes – and have some impact on quitting," he said. "But, that is a very different question than whether that same segment has a unique and disproportionate impact on public health."
"We believe the evidence clearly shows that there is no justification for increased regulation of menthol cigarettes," he added. True said the science is clear: "The overwhelming scientific and real world market data demonstrates that there is no difference in disease, initiation, cessation or dependence between menthol and non-menthol cigarettes."
The advisory committee is expected to submit a non-binding recommendation on the use of menthol in cigarettes to the FDA by March 23, 2011. A slide presentation, "Myth versus Reality," which reviews scientific research findings on the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes, is available at www.understandingmenthol.com, a Lorillard-sponsored website.
About Lorillard, Inc.
Lorillard, Inc. (NYSE: LO) is the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States. Founded in 1760, Lorillard is the oldest continuously operating tobacco company in the U.S. Newport, Lorillard's flagship menthol-flavored premium cigarette brand, is the top selling menthol and second largest selling cigarette in the U.S. In addition to Newport, the Lorillard product line has four additional brand families marketed under the Kent, True, Maverick, and Old Gold brand names. These five brands include 43 different product offerings which vary in price, taste, flavor, length and packaging. Lorillard maintains its headquarters and manufactures all of its products in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and projections about future events and are inherently subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or projected. Information describing factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements is available in Lorillard, Inc.'s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), including but not limited to, our Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These filings are available from the SEC over the Internet or in hard copy, and are available on our website at www.lorillard.com. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the time they are made, and we expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to update these statements to reflect any change in expectations or beliefs or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any forward-looking statement is based.
SOURCE Lorillard, Inc.