FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Extension of Deadline for Submission of Public Comments
AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.
ACTION: Extension of deadline for submission of comments on proposed revisions to the Federal Trade Commission methodology for determining tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide yields of cigarettes, and on a proposed format for disclosing the resulting ratings in advertising.
SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC" or "Commission") is extending until February 4, 1998 the deadline for filing comments on its proposed revisions to the testing method used to determine the tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide ratings of cigarettes, and on two possible formats for disclosure of those test results.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Shira D. Modell, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission, Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, (202) 326-3116.
On September 9, 1997, the Commission issued a notice proposing changes to the methodology currently used to determine cigarette ratings for tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide. See 62 Fed. Reg. 48,158 (Sept. 12, 1997). The proposed methodology would produce tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide yields using both the current testing parameters and more intensive smoking conditions, thus producing a range of potential yields for each cigarette. The Commission requested comment on those proposed changes to the testing methodology, and on the feasibility of generating the upper tier of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide ratings through mathematical formulas, rather than actual testing on a smoking machine. The Commission also placed on the public record two different legends that could be used in advertising to disclose the ratings and sought comment on the usefulness and feasibility of these potential disclosure formats. Finally, comment was requested on alternative approaches that were considered but not proposed by the Commission. The deadline for submission of the requested comments was November 17, 1997.
On October 29, 1997, the Commission announced that, pursuant to requests submitted by, among others, the Food and Drug Administration and the four largest cigarette manufacturers, it had decided to extend the filing deadline until January 20, 1998. See 62 Fed. Reg. 58,972 (Oct. 31, 1997).
The Commission has now received a request for further extension of the filing deadline from Prospect Associates, which serves as the Coordinating Center for the National Cancer Institutes Project ASSIST (American Stop Smoking Intervention Study). The Coordinating Center and the 17 states that ASSIST funds seek this extension so they can incorporate into their comment newly available data relevant to the issues raised by the Commissions proposal, including new data from smoking machine tests conducted pursuant to a methodology promulgated by Massachusetts.
In light of the significance of the issues addressed by the Commissions September 1997 proposal, the deadline for submitting comments on that proposal is hereby extended until February 4, 1998.
By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark