By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM
AP Tobacco Writer
RICHMOND, VA (AP) -- A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel says dissolvable tobacco products could reduce health risks compared with smoking cigarettes but also have the potential to increase the number of tobacco users.
Dissolvable tobacco is finely milled tobacco pressed into shapes like tablets that slowly dissolve in a user's mouth.
Despite its findings, the panel noted that there's a lack of research on the products. They make up a small share of the market.
Tobacco companies are focusing on cigarette alternatives for future sales growth as demand for cigarettes declines.
The FDA plans to review the findings to decide any future actions, but there's no timeline for it to act.
The report posted online ahead of a Friday deadline was mandated by the law giving the FDA authority over the industry.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)