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Reynolds and Lorillard sue F.D.A.

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Cigarette companies are up in arms against the F.D.A.’s efforts to curb the popularity of menthol cigarettes. Two tobacco giants, R. J. Reynolds and Lorillard, have sued the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) alleging that three people in the F.D.A’s panel which is debating on curbing menthol cigarettes have conflicts of interest.

Lorillard, which makes Newport Cigarettes, earns about 90% of its sales from menthol cigarettes. R. J. Reynolds is the third largest tobacco firm in the U.S. In the lawsuit, these two tobacco giants allege that three F.D.A. committee members have received huge sums of money from anti-tobacco lobbies and pharmaceutical firms that manufacture quit smoking products.

All three members are university professors and anti-smoking activists. Last year, a similar lawsuit filed by Philip Morris was rejected. The F.D.A. says its committee members do not profit by lending their expertise to the anti-menthol panel.

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