The AAFP has joined more than 40 public health and medical associations in support of a proposed update to the FDA's cigarette product standards.
A reduction in cigarette nicotine contents to nonaddictive or minimally addictive levels would lead to "massive public health benefits," including the prevention of more young people from smoking, the organizations -- which include the AAFP, the AMA and the American Heart Association -- told FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in a May 21 letter.(4 page PDF)
"There are few actions the FDA could take that would prevent more young people from smoking and save lives," the letter said. "We urge you to move forward with this proposal as quickly as possible."
In its advance notice of proposed rulemaking(www.federalregister.gov) on the issue, the FDA said 5 million adult smokers could quit smoking within one year of implementation of the proposed new standards. Further, some 33 million additional people will have avoided becoming regular smokers by the end of the century, according to the agency.
The AAFP and its fellow signatories called on the FDA to take its proposal further by applying the updated nicotine standard beyond cigarettes, to other combustible tobacco products. The goal is to prevent the tobacco industry from circumventing a new rule, as it did a previous ban on flavored cigarettes.
Earlier this year, the AAFP wrote to Leslie Kux, the FDA's associate commissioner for policy, in support of firm nicotine regulation across the spectrum of tobacco-related products.
"FDA decisions should be subject to the same standard of review that generally applies under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act," the AAFP said in that April 10 letter.(3 page PDF) "The tobacco industry should respond to the same regulatory forces that govern other similar industries and should not be able to choose the amount of regulation they accept. Further, the FDA should have authority to regulate the manufacture, sale, labeling, distribution and marketing of tobacco products and nicotine delivery devices, including products such as nicotine water."
The organizations that signed the latest letter urged the FDA to issue a proposed rule within six months after its public comment period -- by March 16, 2019 -- and to implement the rule by the following March.
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