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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration will decide this week whether to ban menthol cigarettes — a seeming end to a decadeslong, five-way brawl between cigarette makers, public health advocates, regulators, lawmakers, and federal judges.

But in reality, no one is done throwing punches: Regardless of what the FDA decides, the fight will only intensify in the coming months.


Should the FDA decide to ban menthol, tobacco companies are almost guaranteed to sue. They’ve already publicly insisted that the FDA has not demonstrated why a menthol ban is legally justified, and they’re currently locked in a similar legal battle with the state of California.

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