“Natural” Cigarettes? Nice Try

FDA Takes Action Against Misleading Marketing

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Statement attributable to:
Robert Wergin, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“Tobacco manufacturers that try to trick the American public by slapping ‘additive free’ and ‘natural’ claims on their cigarette labels just received a reality check, courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration. Today, the FDA called three tobacco manufacturers out on the carpet, and the American Academy of Family Physicians couldn’t be happier.

“The FDA issued its warning letters(www.fda.gov) just days after the AAFP and a host of other organizations sent a letter to the FDA, alerting Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitchell Zeller that Reynolds American, Inc. and its subsidiary Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., were in violation of the modified risk provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The ads for their cigarettes conveyed a clear message of reduced risk and reduced exposure to harmful substances.

“This is just the latest example of tobacco companies using deceitful marketing ploys to mislead the public. I’m sick of it. Let’s be perfectly clear: Cigarettes kill. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking accounts for about one in five deaths(www.cdc.gov) annually in America.

"These tobacco manufacturers are trying to convince the American public that their product is a healthier alternative to other cigarettes. This isn’t the tobacco industry’s first lie, and it won’t be its last, but right now, I’d like to thank the FDA for taking action on this critical public health issue.”


Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Wergin, contact Megan Moriarty, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5223, or mmoriarty@aafp.org.


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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).