September 9, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Obama caves to Big Tobacco again, this time by extending FDA public comment period on menthol

On the heels of withdrawing its tepid attempt to keep the Trans Pacific Partnership from becoming a powerful tool for Big Tobacco to block tobacco control policies in the US and countries participating in the TPP negotiations, the FDA has ignored the health community and granted the tobacco companies the full 60 day extension it asked for to comment on its long-delayed report on menthol.

For all Obama's talk about "respecting international standards" in his so-far unsuccessful effort to mobilize support to bomb Syria, he seems oblivious to the strong international consensus, as manifest in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, that cigarettes and other tobacco products are chemical weapons that are killing millions every year.

It was pretty clear from the US Trade Representative's slippery answer to the question the American Cancer Society's Greg Haifley's asked on whether the US would back Malaysia's carve out for tobacco that they are fighting it.  I hope that this latest slap in the face to the health community will lead to stronger public mobilization, including work at the state and local level, to pressure Obama to reverse his position and start supporting Malaysia on the TPP. 

We all have more time to do that, since there is no rush on menthol.

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