America's Food and Drug Administration and city governments are not making life easy for tobacco makers these days. As cities across the U.S. have kicked smokers out into the streets outside of bars and restaurants, the FDA has attempted to make the sale of tobacco products increasingly more expensive and more difficult.
The most recent effort by the FDA is to require tobacco companies to report “the amount of unsafe chemicals in their products and prove their so-called lower-risk alternatives to smoking such as snuff are actually safer,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Back in 2009, the FDA was given the ability to regulate all tobacco products so it is finally moving forward, offering “preliminary guidelines for the industry that it says can educate consumers on exactly what is in cigarettes, such as ammonia and formaldehyde, and police claims that certain tobacco products may be safer than others,” the magazine reports.
“We are forging new territory to ensure that tobacco companies provide accurate information and do not mislead American consumers,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement on the FDA blog. “We are committed to stopping such practices that may cause people to start or continue using tobacco products that could lead to preventable disease and death.”
As part of the Obama administration's sweeping action on America's tobacco addiction, cigarette brands must also share with consumers the existence and amount of 93 different chemicals that the FDA has identified. “Most people do understand tobacco use is harmful,” Lawrence Deyton, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, commented. “There are also studies that people don’t really understand why to the extent the various chemicals in tobacco are harmful.”
Along with all of that, the FDA would like the tobacco companies to provide hard evidence that such things as electronic cigarettes, tobacco lozenges, snuff, and snu actually pose less of a risk to consumers than cigarettes.
This is likely in response to R.J. Reynolds parent Reynolds American Inc., which asked the FDA last summer to change labels on smokeless products to “Warning: No tobacco product is safe, but this product presents substantially lower risks to health than cigarettes.”
Now, Reynolds is going to have to come up with real data if that label will ever get changed.
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