President Obama signed the Tobacco Control Act on June 22, 2009. Under the Tobacco Control Act, the FDA obtained authority to regulate tobacco products, with a special emphasis on preventing their use by children and youth and reducing the impact of tobacco on public health. The Act authorizes the FDA, among other things, to set tobacco product standards, require product listing and registration, revise health warning labels, create manufacturing standards, and review products intended to modify the risk of tobacco use.
Since the law’s passage, the FDA has taken several important steps in a coordinated effort to prevent our children from becoming the next generation of Americans to die prematurely from tobacco use and ultimately reducing death and disease associated with tobacco use.
During the past year, the FDA has:
- Established the Center for Tobacco Products
- Established the tobacco user fee program, which provides funding for FDA tobacco regulation support activities
- Begun to enforce the Act’s prohibition on manufacturing, distributing or selling certain flavored cigarettes, such as spice-, fruit-, and candy-flavored cigarettes
- Implemented new statutory authorities, under which tobacco product manufactures have registered their establishments and listed their products with the FDA, provided detailed information about product ingredients and their own research into the health effects of their products
- Convened a Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, which began to study the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes on the public health
The following provisions of the Act become effective on June 22, 2010:
- FDA rules that limit the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to protect the health of children and adolescents become legally enforceable
- Provisions that prohibit the advertising or labeling of tobacco products with the descriptors “light,” “mild,” or “low” or similar descriptors without an FDA order
- Requirements that new, larger health warning labels for smokeless tobacco products begin to rotate on labels, labeling, and advertising and begin to be displayed on smokeless tobacco packaging