Five years ago this month the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama. This historic bipartisan legislation gave FDA the authority to oversee the manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and sale of regulated tobacco products. This marked the first time that a regulatory agency was given the responsibility of using science-based regulation to protect the U.S. public from the harmful effects of tobacco use.
During this time, FDA has moved tobacco product regulation forward, while working to protect Americans from the toll of disease and death associated with tobacco use. The agency has made significant progress toward establishing a comprehensive, effective, and sustainable framework for tobacco product regulation, including:
- Developing a process for the review, evaluation and decision on applications for new and modified risk tobacco products;
- Issuing foundational guidance and regulations for the tobacco industry;
- Implementing a compliance and enforcement program to ensure that regulated tobacco industry complies with the law;
- Increasing regulatory science capabilities through research to better understand regulated products and patterns of tobacco use; and
- Establishing public education campaigns about the dangers of regulated tobacco products.
Each of these actions represents a notable milestone during the last five years, but there is still much to be done. Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in our nation, and every day over 3,200 teens smoke their first cigarette. Nearly 42 million adults in the U.S. smoke, and nearly 500,000 Americans die from tobacco use every year. Progress has been made, but in an ever-evolving marketplace, FDA will continue to play a crucial role by maximizing use of the tools given to us by Congress to positively impact public health for this generation and future ones.
For more information about the important work being done at FDA, including the strategic priorities that we will pursue over the next several years, please visit our website.