By Myron Levin, FairWarning cigs

Facing vehement protest from tobacco state lawmakers and business groups, the Obama administration appears to have retreated from efforts to keep cigarette makers from using trade treaties to attack countries that adopt strong anti-smoking rules.

At issue is whether a pending free trade deal should include language protecting the authority of nations to adopt tough regulations to reduce smoking. In recent years, tobacco companies have invoked trade agreements to challenge the most stringent rules, such as requiring large graphic warnings on packs of cigarettes.