Current status: In June, 2014, Swedish Match submitted an application to market its General Snus products as less harmful than cigarettes, becoming the first modified-risk tobacco product (MRTP) application to be accepted for FDA review. While a Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) panel ruled against the application last April, the FDA has yet to make an official ruling.
Potential risks: Swedish Match has expressed optimism that the FDA will rule in favor of at least some aspects of its application (such as granting modified-risk status, but not allowing the company to change warning labels on tooth lost and gum disease). To be clear, the deeming regulations are a completely separate issue from Swedish Match’s MRTP application—but many public-health advocates have linked the two decisions in terms of the FDA’s thinking on the potential of tobacco harm reduction.
“The FDA has a chance to demonstrate to American tobacco users that it is supportive of tobacco harm reduction when it makes these decisions,” Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine and holder of the endowed chair in tobacco harm-reduction research at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, told CSP back in April.
Based on the FDA’s refusal to acknowledge e-vapor as a potential reduced-harm option in the deeming regs—repeatedly describing cessation claims as “anecdotal” and citing concerns about youth usage and exploding batteries—the harm-reduction community is concerned about the future of modified risk.
Click here for more on Swedish Match’s MRTP application.