FDA Calls on Tobacco Companies to List Harmful Ingredients

Manufacturers must also back up claims that certain products are 'safer' to smoke

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HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 30, 2012 (HealthDay News) --The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it will require the tobacco industry to report on a range of toxic chemical ingredients, and to also back up any claims for "safer" tobacco products.

Both actions are preliminary at this point, and subject to a period of public comment.

While there are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco and tobacco smoke, the FDA has a working list of 93 chemicals that cause or may cause harm to smokers or non-smokers. These include formaldehyde, nicotine, arsenic, cadmium, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Tobacco companies will be required to list quantities of 20 different ingredients associated with cancer, lung disease and other health problems on consumer-friendly packaging by April 2013.

"For the first time, all tobacco manufacturers will be required to report quantities of potential harmful compounds in every regulated tobacco product they sell in the U.S.," said Dr. Lawrence Deyton, director of FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, during a media briefing. "Tobacco itself contains many chemical compounds, many of which are harmful in raw state but also when smoked."

Exactly how and where this information will be conveyed to the public is not yet known. "We are doing research on how to best communicate that information in a consumer-friendly way to the public," he said.

The second FDA action announced that tobacco companies must back up any claims they make if they want to market a tobacco product as "less risky" to health.

"Products can't be marketed as reducing risks unless that claim is supported by science," Deyton said. At this time, this primarily refers to roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco products.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) gives the FDA the power to regulate certain aspects of tobacco marketing and manufacturing. The preliminary rules are open for public comments until June 4, 2012.

More information

Learn more about the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

SOURCE: March 30, 2012, U.S. Food and Drug Administration press briefing with Lawrence Deyton, M.S.P.H., M.D., director, Center for Tobacco Products

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