Center for Tobacco Products Director to Retire

FDA looks to fill Zeller’s position
Mitch Zeller, FDA's CTP Director
Photograph courtesy of the FDA

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking for a new Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) director. Mitch Zeller, who has held the role since 2013, is retiring in April.

During his tenure, Zeller led initiatives including extending the agency’s authority to all tobacco products, finalizing the rules related to submission and evaluation of tobacco product applications and establishing a commitment to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a Dec. 8 staff letter.

Woodcock said Zeller will continue to advance tobacco-related efforts until his retirement, and a formal search for a new center director is underway.

“The public health mission of the center, to help reduce tobacco-related disease and death, remains vitally important,” Zeller said. “The strong leadership at FDA and the center will ensure that this important work continues. I am grateful to my FDA and CTP colleagues, the most dedicated group of public servants I have ever worked with, for their steadfast commitment to the public health.”

The FDA is accepting applications for the CTP director position through Feb. 25. More information can be found online. The CTP was established in 2009 under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The CTP regulates the manufacturing, distribution, promotion and sale of tobacco products.

In other hiring news, Robert Califf, a cardiologist and clinical trial researcher, is expected to win the FDA commissioner role that Woodcock is currently filling, according to Bloomberg. The FDA commissioner oversees the CTP director, and unlike the CTP director position, the FDA commissioner is appointed by the president and must be confirmed by the Senate.

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