In a first, it was announced that the FDA rejected tobacco products, banning them from retail sale.
This is the first time the Food and Drug Administration has used new powers given them by a law backed by President Obama in 2009. The new law allows the regulatory agency to, for the first time in US history, regulate tobacco products like cigarettes.
Exercising these new powers, the FDA announced Tuesday that two new tobacco products were authorized while four others were denied approval for health concerns.
These concerns included products that had more of a particular chemical than a similar item on the market. A lack of product information was also a reason for at least one of the rejections.
As USA Today reported, the products were made by the Lorillard Tobacco Company, best known for their Newport cigarettes. However the specific names of the rejected products were, by law, forbidden to be identified in the FDA’s announcement.
Supporters of greater regulation over tobacco products praise this decision as a major historic milestone.
It is the first time any federal agency has successfully blocked sale of a tobacco product for health reasons.
Prior to the new 2009 law, the Food and Drug Administration had no control over tobacco products.
States, rather, were responsible for creating laws regarding the way tobacco products are sold and taxed. They did not, however, have any control over the products’ contents nor have the ability to ban retail sales.
The new 2009 law also allows the FDA to set federal limits on tobacco products’ contents, like nicotine. Officials are currently examining how to legislate and enforce such measures, reports New York Times.
Observers and activists expressed concern about whether this and similar future rulings from the FDA will be able to withstand the notorious legal firepower of the tobacco industry.
Tuesday’s announcement that the FDA rejected tobacco products over health concerns, however, could be the important turning point anti-tobacco activists have been seeking for years.
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