WASHINGTON — In the wake of the coronavirus situation, tobacco retailing association NATO has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to push back its May 12 deadline for tobacco manufacturers to turn in premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs), which would allow them to continue selling vaping and other new products in the United States.
Lakeville, Minn.-based NATO submitted a letter March 24 to the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) asking for an extension of the May 12, 2020, deadline for filing PMTAs, the association said in a recent newsletter. Tom Briant, executive director for NATO, asked Mitch Zeller, the director of the CTP, to petition the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland for the extension, because that court issued the initial order for the May deadline.
The main reason for the extension is the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Briant said. The way things stand, retailers would have to comply with FDA tobacco regulations on top of the daily task of providing necessities to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Retail employees would need to determine whether hundreds of deemed tobacco products can remain on store shelves if [PMTAs] are submitted to the FDA by May 12, 2020, or need to be removed from stores if such applications are not submitted to the agency by that deadline,” Briant said in a letter. “Given the enormous number of products that require [PMTA] submissions, retailers would be very hard pressed to continue their critical workplace function of providing food, beverages, groceries, medications and gasoline to the public while simultaneously attempting to comply with FDA tobacco regulations.”
NATO asked the FDA to make a decision as soon as possible because retailers need to know how to focus their resources.