FDA: Tobacco companies must submit product ingredients for review

fda tobacco product review

The FDA has ordered tobacco companies to submit ingredients for review in an effort to rid the market of addictive additives. Image: CC dearanxiety/Flickr

Tobacco companies must have all their products reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration in the next 10 weeks. The FDA review of tobacco products exercises the agency’s authority to regulate tobacco granted by a 2009 law. To continue selling them, tobacco companies must submit data about products that have been introduced or altered since the tobacco regulation law was proposed four years ago.

Tobacco regulation funded by tobacco companies

In a move intended to rid the market of the most addictive tobacco products, tobacco companies must get FDA approval for products that have been launched or altered since Feb. 15, 2007. By March 22, tobacco companies must prove to the FDA that cigarettes and smokeless tobacco sold today are, in the words of the agency, “substantially equivalent to those marketed prior to that date.” Tobacco companies must pay to fund the reviews and any resulting regulatory action. If the ingredients and design of those tobacco products have been altered enough to increase health risks for smokers or encourage non-smokers to smoke, the FDA will ban their sale going forward.

Secret ingredients make tobacco more addictive

Anti-smoking activists have accused tobacco companies of secretly manipulating tobacco products to make them more addictive and more compelling to children in recent years. Tobacco users are generally unaware of the additives included in cigarettes and snuff for those express purposes. Food manufacturers and drug companies have had to disclose product ingredients for years. Until Wednesday, tobacco companies were exempt from such requirements. A concession won by the tobacco industry lobbyists during debate on the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA can’t ban tobacco products outright, but can insist that current and future products aren’t more dangerous than those manufactured four years ago.

Smoking the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 20 percent of Americans, not including children, smoke cigarettes. About 3 percent use smokeless tobacco. Smoking is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., killing about 443,000 people a year. According to the FDA, about 230 new tobacco products are introduced every year. The agency said regulations introduced Wednesday aren’t expected to reduce that number. However, it plans to create more regulations in the future that will.


Associated Press

U.S. News & World Report


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