The Food and Drug Administration is taking a small step to whittle away a backlog of 4,000 tobacco product applications, some of which have lingered for more than two years.
The federal agency said Tuesday it has approved applications for two kinds of cigarettes sold by Lorillard Inc. They are two non-menthol versions of its flagship Newport brand.
The FDA also says it has rejected four applications submitted to the agency for approval. It didn't say what they were.
A 2009 law gave the FDA authority to regulate tobacco. That included reviewing new products similar to those already being sold.
An Associated Press review in December 2012 found that the agency hadn't ruled on thousands of those applications for more than a year. The industry had expected a 90-day process.