ASTHO Encouraged by FDA's Proposed Regulation of E-cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products

ARLINGTON, Va., April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its proposed rules on the regulation of e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookahs (water pipes), nicotine gels, and certain dissolvables that are not smokeless tobacco. This is an important step in the process of regulating tobacco products currently free of regulation. The FDA currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.

ASTHO supports the regulation of tobacco products by the FDA. The agency should have the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, labeling, distribution, and sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, since it is the only agency with both the scientific expertise and regulatory authority to accomplish this mission. In 2009, FDA was given the authority to regulate tobacco products as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. ASTHO members support the passage of strong legislation for FDA regulation of tobacco.

"We have been waiting for these rules for several years, and we are very pleased to see the process moving forward," says ASTHO Executive Director Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA. "The public health community has made tremendous strides in reducing tobacco use over the years, but there is much work still to be done. That's why it's so important that we ensure that new technologies and new products do not curtail that progress."

Because tobacco use is a major driver in causing chronic disease, state health agencies are concerned with its public health implications. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States, accounting for approximately one of every five deaths (438,000) each year. More deaths are caused by tobacco use than from HIV/AIDS, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Each year, tobacco use results in $157 billion in direct and indirect medical costs.

We encourage our members and the public health community to participate in the open comment period.  Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 75 days beginning April 25. This is an important part of the regulatory process, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed rules. We also encourage the FDA to conduct a careful review of the ideas, suggestions, and comments that the public health community provides to the rule.

ASTHO's Tobacco Prevention and Control project provides support to state public health agencies in their role in the development of policies that encourage healthy environments and reduce tobacco use. ASTHO serves as a resource to state health agencies and national and federal partners on perspectives, capacities, challenges, and opportunities to implement state-based tobacco prevention initiatives. ASTHO works with national partners in tobacco prevention and control through the ASTHO Tobacco Issues Forum chaired by Edward Ehlinger, MD, MSPH, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, and on preventing tobacco use before, during, and after pregnancy. ASTHO's tobacco and chronic disease projects provide national leadership in linking tobacco control with other chronic disease prevention issues, such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, as well as aligning tobacco-control efforts with the National Prevention Strategy.

SOURCE Association of State and Territorial Health Officials



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