WASHINGTON— The other tobacco products (OTP) category saw a wide range of federal activity at the tail end of 2018 and into first-quarter 2019, ranging from potential movement on the modified-risk front to a possible, although unofficial, ban on flavored cigars.
All the activity came as Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced his resignation, effective this spring. Many in the industry believe the agency’s tough stance on flavors in tobacco products are now in question as the FDA transitions its leadership.
Here’s a recap of recent events on the OTP front …
Targeting flavored cigars
In March, the FDA issued a draft guidance document, essentially a set of proposals meant to update its policies around the administration and enforcement of tobacco regulations. Specific to OTP, the proposals cut off any pathway for cigars in flavors other than tobacco for new-product approval through the FDA. The agency was taking public comments on its proposals into mid-April, and from there was scheduled to produce a final guidance document.
Potential modified-risk approval
Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group noted in a first-quarter address to investors that an FDA advisory group, the Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee, had given a favorable recommendation to a modified-risk claim it submitted for its Copenhagen snuff product. At the same time, the company noted it was opening its first Copenhagen-branded retail store in Nashville.
Along the same lines, Swedish Match, Richmond, Va., resubmitted a modified-risk application for eight General snus products for FDA consideration, according to Lakeville, Minn.-based NATO.
OTP manufacturers made leadership changes
Two big tobacco and OTP companies announced executive changes. The first was U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Raleigh, N.C., one of the nation’s largest tobacco-farming cooperatives. It named Oscar House its new president and CEO.
Then Altadis USA Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., named Paul Waller head of its sales department and Brad Winstead head of its consumer marketing department, the company said.