Reaffirming Earlier Ruling, WTO Orders Obama Administration to Drop Flavored Cigarette Ban

Posted 04 April 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

The World Trade Organization, a powerful global body focused on facilitating trade and acting as an intermediary in disputes, ruled the Obama Administration must overturn legislation banning flavored cigarettes.

The legislation was originally enacted in 2009 in a bipartisan move aimed at stemming the uptake of cigarette habits amongst children.

WTO's 4 April 2012 ruling claims the law is discriminatory as a result of the law specifically exempting menthol cigarettes to the detriment of Indonesian clove cigarette makers.

The US Trade Representative had appealed an earlier ruling by WTO by claiming the court erred by treating clove cigarettes and menthol cigarettes as similar products.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act endowed FDA with the power to regulate the tobacco industry, and specifically banned flavored cigarettes and some tobacco advertising. FDA was also given the power to authority to approve new tobacco products.

The law remains in effect, and the Obama administration has pledged to uphold the legislation in the face of retaliation from Indonesia.

Read more:

WSJ - WTO Ruling Is Blow to U.S. Anti-Smoking Effort

The Hill - WTO rules against Obama administration cigarette ban

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