FDA delays crackdown on menthol cigarettes

The decision comes over the objections of groups that argue there has been plenty of time to weigh in on the matter.

The FDA announced in July that it was considering new regulations on the products, contending that minty cigarettes could make it easier for people to start smoking — even though there is little evidence to suggest menthol brands pose greater health risks.

A 60-day public comment period meant to help inform the rule-making process is now reaching its conclusion. The agency received requests for an extension from parties who argued that two months is not sufficient time “to develop meaningful and thoughtful responses” to questions raised by the proposal.

Despite competing arguments from groups seeking to move the process forward, the FDA agreed to push the deadline until Nov. 22.

"The Agency believes that a 60-day extension allows adequate time for interested persons to submit comments without significantly delaying any potential regulatory action on these important issues," the FDA concluded in a notice to be published in Wednesday's Federal Register.