2016 Press Releases

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FDA Tobacco Ruling Is a Big Step and a Long Time in Coming: The ATS

(May 5, 2016) – Today, the White House released the final Food and Drug Administration rule deeming authority over all tobacco products including cigars, e-cigarettes, and hookahs/water-pipes. “This final regulation gives the FDA important powers to reduce substantially Big Tobacco’s ability to target our nation’s youth,” said American Thoracic Society President Atul Malhotra, MD. “This is an important step, but there is still a lot of essential work that the FDA will need to complete to fully protect public health.”

The final rule gives the FDA authority to regulate all aspects of tobacco products, including:
• Ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
• Disclosure of ingredients
• Good manufacturing processes
• Warning labels
• New product review
• Evaluating reduced risk product claims

“The long-awaited FDA deeming rule will save a lot of lives,” added Dr. Malhotra. “But the ATS will continue to advocate for total regulation of tobacco products.”

The final rule fails to address many important aspects of tobacco regulation, including:
• Banning candy-flavored cigars and e-cigarette products
• Banning cigar and e-cigarette product merchandising

While the medical and public health community celebrate today’s final rule, the ATS would be remiss in failing to note the long delay in getting here.

The FDA has moved deliberatively in issuing this rule. Big Tobacco has moved aggressively to expand its market. The combination of missing FDA oversight, clever industry marketing, candy flavorings, and confusing, misleading and poorly-supported health claims about e-cigarettes have led to a 10-fold increase in e-cigarette use by American youth between 2011 and 2015.

“That means literally millions of children took their first step towards nicotine addiction, while we waited on FDA action,” said Dr. Malhotra.

The ATS looks forward to FDA’s swift implementation of the final rule and will actively oppose any Congressional efforts to stop, weaken or delay the FDA’s authority to regulate all tobacco products.

About the American Thoracic Society
Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is the world's leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society’s 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy.