FDA Control Over Tobacco in Jeopardy?

Trump’s proposed budget would establish new agency within Health & Human Services
Photograph: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would no longer have oversight over tobacco products if one of President Donald Trump’s new budget proposals prevails. A newly created agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would take control, the proposed budget says.

Released Feb. 10, the document proposes that the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), currently under the FDA, be spun off into a new agency to focus on tobacco regulation. “This new agency would be led by a Senate-confirmed director in order to increase direct accountability and more effectively respond to this critical area of public health,” the budget said. “A new agency with the singular mission on tobacco and its impact on public health would have greater capacity to respond strategically to the growing complexity of new tobacco products.”

The realignment would also “allow the FDA commissioner to focus on its traditional mission of ensuring the safety of the nation’s food and medical products supply.”

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 initially gave the FDA control over tobacco products. Then in 2016, the FDA finalized rules that extended the CTP’s authority over electronic nicotine delivery systems.

Trump and the FDA have been actively involved in the e-cigarette debate in recent months, with the agency delivering its final guidance on enforcement priorities over e-cigarettes Jan. 2. The guidance targets flavored e-cigarette cartridges, forcing the removal of flavored pods—with the exception of tobacco and menthol—from store shelves.

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