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Blumenthal Applauds New FDA Guidelines On Big Tobacco

(Hartford, CT) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) release of two documents that provide guidance to companies that manufacture, advertise, or market tobacco products. These guidelines will force the tobacco industry to disclose previously unidentified contents in tobacco products, and back up any health claims made with sound science, allowing consumers to take better control of their health:

“The FDA’s action is a welcome next step in stopping big tobacco’s deceptive and deadly marketing practices and telling the truth about tobacco use: cigarettes kill, no matter what their ingredients, and there is no such thing as a safer cigarette.

“For too long, consumers and children have been misled by tobacco companies that seek to hide the fatal chemicals that are contained in tobacco products, just to make a profit. In many cases, these companies have wrongfully marketed their products as safe for consumption, when in reality, they contain deadly ingredients. The draft guidance issued by the FDA today is a good first step in requiring the tobacco industry to end these deceptive practices, and reduce the number of smokers in our country. 

“By requiring the tobacco industry to disclose the harmful contents of tobacco products, and the amounts of the content in each product, the FDA is empowering consumers to take a closer look at just how harmful these products are. Furthermore, by requiring industry to only issue health claims on tobacco products that are substantiated by scientific evidence, the FDA puts an end to the deceptive advertising that is far too common in this industry. While this is a good first step, it will be even more important to ensure that consumers and children are educated about the risks of each of these chemicals – to fully understand the danger they pose to their health, and the health of those around them. I look forward to learning how the FDA plans to educate consumers and children about these harmful contents.

“I encourage the FDA to broaden the list of harmful or potentially harmful contents that tobacco companies must be required to disclose on their product. I will continue to monitor this process very closely on behalf of my constituents.”

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 authorizes the FDA to regulate tobacco products with respect to their marketing, manufacturing, and distribution. This law aims to help address industry issues such as disease risks, dependency, prevalence of use among youth, and illicit trade. The release of the draft guidance documents today is a provision of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. 

The first document requires the industry to report the type and amount of “harmful and potentially harmful constituents” (HPHCs) contained in tobacco products. A list of 20 HPHCs that industry will be required to disclose was published today. A description of these HPHCs, with information on how the amount of these HPHCs affects a person’s health, will be released in a “consumer-friendly” report in April, 2013.

The FDA also issued draft guidance today on submitting applications to sell modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs). Modified risk tobacco products are tobacco products that are sold, distributed, or marketed with a claim to reduce harm or the risk of tobacco-related disease. The guidance released today details rigorous scientific criteria an applicant’s tobacco product must meet before the FDA can allow the applicant to sell that product with a claim to reduce harm.