The FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) is responsible for carrying out the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which Congress passed in 2009. This law—commonly called the Tobacco Control Act—gives us broad authority to regulate the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.
The Importance of the Tobacco Control Act
Despite major progress over the past half-century, tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 adult daily smokers began by age 18, the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products.1
- An estimated 42.1 million Americans—nearly one in five adults—currently smoke cigarettes.2
- Each year, at least 480,000 people in the U.S. die prematurely from diseases caused by cigarette smoking or secondhand smoke exposure.1
The statistics around young people are even more sobering.
- Each day in the United States, nearly 2,500 youth under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.3
- Each day, nearly 600 kids become daily cigarette smokers.3
- Nationwide, about one in four (24.6% of) high school students currently report using tobacco products.4
This must change.
Improving Public Health
Our goal is to reduce the harm from all regulated tobacco products across the entire population, including:
- reducing the number of people who start to use tobacco products
- encouraging more people to stop using these products
- reducing the adverse health impact for those who continue to use these products
FDA's unique position as a regulatory agency allows for a framework of decision-making based on – and within the limits of – both the science and the law. For example, the law gives FDA the authority to adopt science-based product standards, which could require the reduction or elimination of an additive, constituent, or other component if doing so would be appropriate to protect public health.
CTP uses a comprehensive approach as the best way to end the negative health effects of tobacco use. This includes defining policy, issuing regulations, conducting research, educating Americans on regulated tobacco products, and making decisions on whether new products and claims can be marketed—including reviewing and evaluating applications and claims before the products are allowed on the market.
This cohesive, comprehensive approach can help us reach our goals of
- preventing people from starting to use tobacco products
- encouraging tobacco users to quit
- reducing the harm caused by tobacco use
As we work to protect the public’s health, we will use the full power of the law to protect consumers from the dangers of tobacco use.
Read more about what we are doing in
- Research to help us carry out our mission based on solid evidence
- Issuing rules (regulations) and setting policy to implement specific parts of the Tobacco Control Act
- Compliance and enforcement to ensure that distributors, importers, manufacturers, and retailers comply with the Tobacco Control Act
- Educating the public, especially youth, about the dangers of tobacco products
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The Health Consequences of Smoking--50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2014.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults – United States, 2005-2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2014;63: 1108-12.
3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality; 2016. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.pdf. Accessed September 9, 2016.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students - United States, 2011-2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015;64: 381-5.