[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] may use a report [text, PDF] on menthol cigarettes. The tobacco companies argued [JURIST report] that the report was written by experts with a conflict of interest and that the FDA should not be able to use it. The report indicates that menthol cigarettes lead to increased smoking among teens, African Americans and individuals with lower incomes. The three-judge panel disagreed with the tobacco companies that the experts had a conflict of interest.
Cigarettes continue to be a serious health and legal issue around the world. In June a judge for the Quebec Superior Court awarded over $15 billion [JURIST report] in damages to Quebec smokers in a case against tobacco companies JTI-Macdonald, Imperial Tobacco, and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, making this the largest award for damages and the biggest class action lawsuit in Canada's history. In May 2014 the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the dismissal [JURIST report] of a consolidated lawsuit brought against various tobacco companies. In August 2014 the World Health Organization called for strict regulation [JURIST report] of electronic cigarettes, including a ban on the usage of the devices in public places and advertising targeting minors. In June 2014 the Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand approved a new regulation [JURIST report] requiring packs of cigarettes in the country to be 85 percent covered with graphic health warnings.