By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM
AP Tobacco Writer
RICHMOND, VA (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration is conducting an independent review of research on the public health impact of menthol cigarettes.
The federal agency on Monday gave an update on its review of an advisory panel report on the minty smokes, one of the few growth sectors of the shrinking cigarette business.
That report said that removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health because the flavoring has led to an increase in smokers and makes quitting harder. It also said the FDA should consider other factors, including that a ban could increase counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes.
The report submitted in March was mandated under the 2009 law giving the agency authority to regulate tobacco. The FDA can't ban nicotine or tobacco, but can limit what goes into products.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)