The FDA Must Claim Regulatory Power over All Tobacco Products
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a proposed regulation in April and solicited comments on how to regulate tobacco products that are subject to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009. Up until now, many tobacco products such as dissolvable tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, hookah, e-cigarettes and pipe tobacco, were not subject to FDA regulation. The FDA is responsible for “regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.” The fact that many tobacco products have escaped FDA regulation until this time goes against their mission. It is vital that the FDA claim its power to regulate these products.
CASAColumbia staff have authored comments on the proposed rule, recommending that the FDA should:
- Regulate all tobacco products, including the subset of cigars termed “premium cigars”
- Subject e-cigarettes to the same regulation as other tobacco products
- Subject e-cigarettes to the same marketing restrictions as cigarettes
- Require all tobacco products to carry an effective addiction warning label
- Ban flavorings in all tobacco products
- Recognize the disproportionate burden of tobacco-related disease experienced by minorities when deciding how to regulate tobacco products
We believe these regulations will be especially beneficial for the health of teens and young people. All these products contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance, and young people are especially susceptible to developing nicotine dependence. The tobacco industry sees young people as potential replacement tobacco users to make up for those lost through cessation, illness or death, and has used tactics like flavorings to make their products more appealing to this group. Giving Americans more information highlighting the risks of these products and making them less attractive and accessible to young people is good for public health.
Margaret Raskob, MPH
Margaret Raskob is a freelance blogger.