American Association for Cancer Research

AACR CANCER POLICY MONITOR

CPM

                                                                                                          MARCH 2010

FDA NAMES TOBACCO ADVISORY COMMITTEE                                                    

Committee’s first point of order will be to examine the health impacts of menthol in cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to make important strides in its effort to curtail the deadly effects of tobacco use.

On the first of March, the agency announced membership and meeting information for the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC). The body will advise the FDA on complex scientific and regulatory issues as it moves forward with implementation of the historic Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed into law last summer.

The committee’s first meeting will be held on March 30-31. The agenda will focus on the health impacts of the use of menthol in cigarettes as it relates to the demographics of users, preferential use by persons initiating tobacco use, and the effects of menthol on addiction and cessation. In addition, consumer perceptions about menthol cigarettes, the sensory qualities of menthol cigarettes, and the effects of menthol on how cigarettes are smoked will be discussed.

The Tobacco Control Act empowered the agency to regulate levels of nicotine and other ingredients, as well as force greater disclosure of the contents of tobacco products and restrict false or misleading advertising. Following the timeline set forth in the law, the FDA has already banned the distribution, manufacture and importation of candy, fruit or spice-flavored cigarettes and required tobacco manufacturers and importers to submit information about ingredients and additives in tobacco products.

By the end of this year, FDA will also be required to reissue a 1996 regulation aimed at reducing youth access to tobacco products and curbing the drug’s appeal to young people; restrict tobacco manufacturers from using the terms "light," "low" and "mild" on tobacco products; and revise and strengthen warning labels for smokeless tobacco products. By Oct. 2012, warning labels for cigarettes will be revised and will include graphic images.

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