Monday, September 14, 2009

Partnership to FDA: Be Aggressive in Regulating Tobacco

Congress has given the Food and Drug Administration broad powers to regulate tobacco. So how should they go about regulating it? The FDA recently received oral testimony from non-profit groups across the nation. Partnership for Prevention threw in our two cents' worth as noted below:

Comments by Dr. Corinne Husten
Executive Vice President/Chief Policy & Program Officer
Partnership for Prevention
FDA Tobacco Regulations
September 10, 2009

  • FDA needs to develop strong regulations that will prevent the abusive practices of the tobacco industry, such as the targeting of children and the manipulation of the product to make it more addictive.
  • Partnership encourages the FDA to be as aggressive as possible in developing public health actions under your new authority regarding the retail environment, warning labels, packaging, advertising restrictions and other key provisions.
  • New warning labels should be large, very graphic and explicit in nature, and prominently feature the 1-800 Quit Now number on all tobacco products and advertising. We encourage the FDA to learn from other countries that have implemented strong warning labels.
  • We support the development of strong metrics for measuring impact. FDA will also need real-time monitoring systems so you quickly know the intended and unintended consequences of the regulations that are put in place. FDA needs to be assured that the tobacco industry is not circumventing the intent of the new rules.
  • Partnership also encourages FDA to view these regulations as dynamic – FDA should operate on the assumption that changes in the regulations will be needed as new information is received about the impact, or lack of impact, of their regulatory actions.
  • Proven harm reduction efforts (that is, preventing tobacco use and helping current tobacco users quit) must be a high priority. FDA must ensure that progress in reducing tobacco use accelerates, not slows, as a result of regulation.
  • Finally, FDA regulation alone is not the “solution” to the tobacco problem in our country. We hope that FDA will work collaboratively with other Federal agencies and tobacco control partners. It is also critical that FDA make clear in all its work that this regulatory authority does not negate nor diminish the importance of comprehensive, well-funded national and state tobacco prevention and control programs.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.


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