The American Thoracic Society applauds the Food and Drug Administration for moving forward with proposed rules to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars. This long awaited proposed rule is an important next step toward reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco use in the United States.
The proposed rules lay out common sense requirements such as product registration, disclosure of contents, and good manufacturing processes, which will help bring many of the secretive practices of Big Tobacco out of the shadows and into the public light. The proposed ruled will also prevent e-cigarette and cigar manufacturers from making any unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits, "reduced risk" or cessation benefits of tobacco products unless they are supported by scientific evidence evaluated by the FDA.
The national prohibition of selling e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 signifies recognition that e-cigarettes and the nicotine they vaporize are not harmless and also recognizes that they could very well be a gateway to regular cigarette smoking, reversing decades of work to not hooking people on cigarettes while children.
Despite our strong support for FDA's action today, we are very concerned that FDA is considering exempting so called "premium cigars" from FDA oversight. ATS Secretary Treasurer David Gozal, MD, notes that "all cigars, whether a cheap grape-flavored cigar at the local convenience store or an expensive hand-rolled Cuban cigar stored in a walk-in humidor, can cause disease and should be regulated by the FDA."
While we are pleased that the FDA has taken this important step, the American Thoracic Society remains committed to taking further action to reduce the needless toll in health and human lives that tobacco use costs our country. During the public comment period, we look forward to building a strong public health case for why the FDA should take action to extend the current ban on candy-flavored cigarettes to other tobacco products, including cigars and e-cigarettes. Such a step would significantly reduce the use of tobacco by youth in the U.S.
Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is the world's leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society's 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy.
American Thoracic Society