The FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill vs. Harm Reduction

The New York Times has an interesting story today on the potential marketing of Snus, a form of smokeless tobacco that does not require spitting, to American tobacco users.

As an official with the American Cancer Society notes in the story, “if every smoker in the United States were to switch to smokeless tobacco, “in the next decade we would see fewer cancers and less heart disease.”

However, Europe perversely bans Snus, while cigarettes, which are much more dangerous, remain legal.

Congress is currently weighing a bill that would give delegate to the FDA the task of regulating the tobacco industry. “But Reynolds American, the parent company of R. J. Reynolds, is opposed, arguing that the provisions in the legislation are so onerous that they would make it difficult, if not impossible, to introduce reduced-risk products and market them as such.” The head of the FDA is also opposed to the bill.

CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman sent a letter to Congress yesterday expressing its concerns about counterproductive provisions in the FDA tobacco regulation bill. In its press release yesterday, CEI noted that

“Among the adverse effects the bill would have are barring the advertising of smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes, hindering the development of other reduced-risk tobacco products; and making it more difficult for FDA to improve its handling of far more important issues such as medical drug approval. By reducing cigarette nicotine levels, the bill could also increase the amount of harmful tar inhaled, because smokers would smoke more cigarettes in order to satisfy their nicotine craving.”