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House Appropriations Committee Votes to Restrict FDA Tobacco Control

July 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm

This week the House Appropriations Committee legislative riders in the FY18 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would severely limit the FDA’s authority to regulate all tobacco products. The first legislative rider would exempt “premium” and large cigars from the FDA’s regulatory authority. If enacted, the exemption would prevent the FDA from placing any regulations on premium and large cigars, including flavoring restrictions, advertising limits, limits on marketing products to children and limits on false or misleading health claims – such as “light”, “low tar” and “filtered” tobacco products. The definition of large and “premium” cigars includes low priced, mass produced machine made cigars.

The Appropriations Committee included a second legislative rider known as the “grandfathering provision” that changes the date of the FDA’s new product review authority from February 2007 to August 2016. When Congress passed legislation giving the FDA authority to regulate all tobacco products, Congress effectively stated any tobacco product introduced after February 2007 would be considered a “new” product and would have to undergo an FDA new-product-review process. Products on the market prior to that date would be considered “grandfathered” and would not be subject to new product review by FDA. The e-cigarette market and the market for candy flavored cigars developed after 2007. Changing the grandfathering date from February 2007 to August 2016 effectively exempts the entire e-cigarette and candy flavored market from FDA new product review.

The ATS strongly opposes both legislative riders and joined a coalition of medical and public health groups in a letter opposing the provisions.

The ATS will continue to work with allies in Congress to block the adoption of both tobacco legislative riders.

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