FDA Gets Tough on Tobacco


"[We] believe that the FDA has carried out is evaluation process in a deliberate manner reflecting sound science," Kessler said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing productive engagement with the agency moving forward."

Previously Kessler has criticized the FDA, telling The Associated Press the FDA was "not exercising common sense" in their approach to authorizing new tobacco products.

"These are cigarettes. They haven't changed in 50 years," Kessler said in an earlier interview with the AP. "I don't think the spirit of the law ever envisioned this type of cumbersome scrutiny."

Electronic or e-cigarettes, which allow users to inhale suspended nicotine through "vapor," are not regulated by the FDA unless the manufacturer claims they have therapeutic benefits.

In 2011, the FDA announced that it would start regulating electronic cigarettes the way it regulates tobacco products but it's in the process of finalizing that proposal.

In addition to the FDA's regulation of new products, Hurt said he hoped the FDA will regulate other cigarette components such as nicotine or menthol to diminish tobacco use.

Hurt added that a cigarette-free country is not out of the realm of possibility. He noted that the modern cigarette is only about 100 years old and that New Zealand aims to be smoke-free by 2025.

"When we talk about a world without cigarettes we talk about a return to a norm," said Hurt. "[Cigarettes were] not a product of note 'til early part of the 20th century."

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