Director - Center for Tobacco Products (
On this page:
- Perspectives & Commentary
- Congressional Testimony
- Listen to Podcast Appearances
- Watch The Past, Present, and Future of Nicotine Addiction
- Mitch Zeller Biography
Perspectives & Commentary
- April 20, 2022 - Mitch Zeller Reflects on Experiences as Director of FDA Center for Tobacco Products
- January 4, 2022 - In Open Access Government, U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Director of the Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller, discussd how the U.S. federal review of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products helps protect public health.
- September 9, 2021 – Mitch Zeller provided an update on FDA’s progress on tobacco product application review and related enforcement.
- April 10, 2020 - In FDA Voices, Mitch Zeller provided a behind-the-scenes perspective on FDA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- March 17, 2020 - In the American Journal of Public Health, Mitch Zeller gave an in-depth look at “Youth E-Cigarette Use and the Food and Drug Administration’s Multifaceted Approach.”
- October 12, 2018 - In Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Mitch Zeller offered his perspective on “The Future of Nicotine Regulation: Key Questions and Challenges.”
- August 13, 2018 - In The Advocate, Mitch Zeller recounted how smoking has affected his family personally and why every attempt to quit is a step closer to quitting for good.
- December 4, 2019 - Mitch Zeller testified in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on the federal response to the epidemic of e-cigarette use, especially among children, and FDA’s compliance policy.
- November 13, 2019 - Mitch Zeller testified in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on examining the response to lung illnesses and rising youth electronic cigarette use.
- September 15, 2020 - Mitch Zeller joined Dr. Anand Shah, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs, in a discussion on e-cigarettes and the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey results.
- July 3, 2020 - In a podcast interview with the Oncology Nursing Society, Mitch Zeller discussed tobacco’s effect on American health, communication strategies for patients with cancer who want to quit, and what FDA is doing to mitigate its harm.
May 6, 2020 - In an interview for the American Journal of Public Health’s podcast, Mitch Zeller discussed CTP’s approach to regulating vaping products.
- July 31, 2019 - In an interview with GovernmentCIO Magazine on their “GovCast” podcast, Mitch Zeller talked about the importance and use of technology to aid in CTP’s mission.
- November 1, 2018 - In an interview with NYU’s School of Global Public Health on their “I AM GPH” podcast, Mitch Zeller offered career advice to aspiring public health advocates and insight into his own career path.
The Past, Present, and Future of Nicotine Addiction
As director of the Center for Tobacco Products from March 2013 to April 2022, Mitch Zeller led FDA's efforts to reduce disease and death from tobacco use and bring previously unavailable information about its dangers to light. Zeller was dedicated to carrying out CTP's charge to reduce the harm from all tobacco products across the entire population—with a focus on how and why people start, stop, or start using these products again.
The mission of CTP—established by enactment of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act—is "to make tobacco-related death and disease part of America's past, not America's future, and, by doing so, ensure a healthier life for every American family."
"Today, FDA has an unprecedented opportunity to use the tools in the Tobacco Control Act," Zeller said. "Product regulation is a powerful component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the death and disease from tobacco use. We will marshal the science to support new policies to help combat the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States," he added.
Zeller, a graduate of Dartmouth College and the American University Washington College of Law, has been working on FDA issues for more than 30 years. He began his career as a public interest attorney in 1982 at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). In 1988, Zeller left CSPI to become counsel to the Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Government Operations Committee where he conducted oversight of enforcement of federal health and safety laws.
In 1993, Zeller joined the staff of then-FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler, M.D. What began as a two-week assignment by Kessler in 1994 to examine the practices of the tobacco industry led to his serving as associate commissioner and director of FDA's first Office of Tobacco Programs. Instrumental in crafting the agency's 1996 tobacco regulations, Zeller also represented FDA before Congress, federal and state agencies. Zeller also served as an official U.S. delegate to the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
In 2000, Zeller left FDA to continue his work for tobacco control as executive vice president of the American Legacy Foundation. His responsibilities there included marketing, communications, strategic partnerships, and creating the foundation's first Office of Policy and Government Relations. In 2002, Zeller joined Pinney Associates where, as senior vice president, he provided strategic planning and communications advice on domestic and global public health policy issues involving the treatment of tobacco dependence and the regulation of tobacco products and pharmaceuticals.