The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took several steps in early 2018 to reshape tobacco regulation, ranging from opening public-comment periods on key issues to moving on at least one significant modified-risk application. Of these developments, the public-comment periods were arguably the most significant, having formally initiated debate over three controversial matters: nicotine levels in cigarettes, tobacco flavors and premium cigars. But don’t expect any sudden changes, one analyst says. These public-comment periods are “part of a very long, iterative process of information gathering for the FDA,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director of consumer equity research for Wells Fargo Securities, New York. “[It’s] not really a forum that would necessarily change the debate on anything, in our view, but it may shed light on the many difficulties of implementation [or] enforcement.”

Here’s a breakdown of the public-comment periods, as well as developments with the FDA’s ongoing product-application and review process.