Tobacco Products

Overview of the Center for Tobacco Products: Consumer Fact Sheet

On June 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This historic legislation granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products. The FDA then established the Center for Tobacco Products to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect public health and to reduce tobacco use by youth.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act authorizes the FDA to

  • Require disclosure of tobacco product ingredients
  • Create standards for tobacco products
  • Restrict tobacco sales, distribution, and marketing
  • Require stronger health warnings on packaging and in advertisements

Making a Difference

Each year, tobacco use kills more than 480,000 Americans, making it the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.1 Each day in the United States, nearly 2,500 youth under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and nearly 600 become daily cigarette smokers.2

For many young people, their first cigarette will lead to a lifetime of addiction and serious disease. Nearly 9 out of 10 daily adult smokers smoked their first cigarette before 18 years of age1—the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products—and before they were old enough to fully understand the risks.

CTP educates the public about the harms of tobacco products, working to reduce their appeal and keep them out of the hands of America's youth.

Everything we do is designed to reduce the impact of tobacco on public health, including our top three priorities:

  • Reduce initiation rates and prevent youth from starting to use tobacco
  • Encourage tobacco users to quit
  • Decrease the harms of tobacco product use

CTP Takes Action Every Day

Every day, CTP takes action to protect American families, charting a new course for comprehensive change. These actions include:

  • Developing science-based regulations to safeguard the nation's health.
  • Publishing guidance to help the industry comply with regulations for tobacco products.
  • Conducting retailer inspections to ensure compliance with laws restricting sales of tobacco products to youth, and issuing warning letters and monetary penalties for violations.
  • Requiring tobacco manufacturers to report the ingredients in their products so FDA can evaluate the harm caused by the ingredients, take steps to reduce the harm, and educate the public about the toxic substances in tobacco products so public health can be improved.
  • Reviewing proposed modified risk tobacco products before they can be sold.
  • Restricting the access and attractiveness of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to young people.
  • Enforcing the ban on the manufacture and sale of fruit- or candy-flavored cigarettes.
  • Prohibiting the use of misleading claims such as "low," "light," and "mild" that falsely imply that some tobacco products are safer.
  • Reviewing new tobacco products to determine whether they can be legally marketed.
  • Launching public information and education campaigns, particularly targeted to youth, about the dangers of regulated tobacco products.
  • Partnering with other public health agencies to conduct cutting-edge research on a range of topics such as smoking initiation and nicotine addiction.
  • Using the best available science to develop and issue regulations to protect the nation's health. 


1. US Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: US Dept 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. 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. Accessed September 9, 2016.

Page Last Updated: 02/09/2017
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