The Food and Drug Administration has been provided this week with a review of its tobacco industry regulatory processes that cited its Center for Tobacco Products “is at a pivotal place in its evolution.”
The review, as well as recommendations, comes from the Reagan-Udall Foundation, which was created by Congress to help the FDA to advance regulatory science.
Foremost among the recommendations: the center needs to shift from operating “primarily in a reactive mode, moving from one challenge to the next … to becoming a more proactive and strategic program with enhanced engagement with stakeholders and the public…”
The foundation’s review is “a step in the right direction to address regulatory flaws of current tobacco and nicotine regulation in the United States,” said Mazen Saleh, director of the conservative think tank R Street Institute’s integrated harm-reduction program.
Saleh said he supports retaining menthol flavorings in tobacco products that have the potential to wean smokers off combustible traditional cigarettes, rather than the FDA’s current plan to ban those products.
“By promoting a quit-or-die philosophy, bans do not consider the multidimensional and intersectional factors that drive individual smoking habits, and prioritize short-term gains over long-term sustainability,” Saleh said.
“To be successful in achieving long-term declines in national smoking prevalence across all populations, addressing social determinants of health through a tailored tobacco harm reduction strategy is key in eliminating smoking disparities…”