FDA to study effect of tobacco rules on smokers

WASHINGTON Thu Oct 6, 2011 1:29pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health regulators said on Thursday they will follow the behavior and health of 40,000 smokers aged 12 and older to study the effects of new tobacco regulations.

The joint effort by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health is the first such study since Congress asked the FDA to regulate tobacco products in 2009.

The FDA said the results will help it better tailor regulations to inform people about the risks of tobacco products.

Rockville, Maryland-based research firm Westat will examine what makes people more likely to smoke or stop smoking, and what effect regulation has had on how people view tobacco and its risks.

"The results will strengthen FDA's ability to fulfill our mission to make tobacco-related death and disease part of America's past," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.

The FDA was tasked with overseeing the advertisements and product designs of the tobacco industry, including marketing to children.

But its new rules have faced lawsuits from some tobacco manufacturers, who argue the government has overstepped its authority.

Last month, lawyers from companies including Reynolds American Inc and Lorillard Inc said the FDA had little evidence to prove product labels with pictures of rotting teeth and diseased lungs actually keep consumers from smoking or help them better understand its risks.

The FDA said almost 70 million Americans aged 12 and older used tobacco products in 2010, and cigarette smoking results in 443,000 deaths in the United States each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been little change in the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes since 2004.

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Comments (8)
JohnNDaily wrote:
Funny, the CDC’s press release of September 6 states that “an estimated 19.3 percent—or 45.3 million—of American adults, aged 18 and older, continue to smoke, a decline from 20.9 percent in 2005.”

I just wish they would separate cigarettes from other forms of tobacco in their research.

Oct 06, 2011 1:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
klondikecat wrote:
Why bother creating rules when the old ones do not work. Regardless of current drop of cigarette usage,the current smokers will continue to smoke despite warnings, rules, graphic depictions on cigarette packs and excess taxation (this last has been responsible for the decrease in disposable income amongst smokers resulting in less spending and directly negatively affecting local economies). What the FDA should be doing is studying ways to break the addiction. Rules changes will have no effect. Note: Has anyone considered that the decrease in smokers could be the result of medical complications and not cessation programs?

Oct 06, 2011 8:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Elaine_Keller wrote:
The drop in smoking prevalence in 2010 coincides with a growth spurt in the electronic cigarette industry. Many smokers who switched to e-cigarettes are now smoke-free for a year, 2 years, and even 3 years. The powers-that-be (e.g., the FDA) refuse to admit that their nicotine abstinence approach is unworkable for a majority of smokers. Smoke-free products such as snus (low-nitrosamine, spit-free, moist snuff), dissolvable orbs, and e-cigarettes are working well as acceptable replacements for deadly cigarette smoke–among people who understand that these products are less hazardous than smoking. Yet the government insists on warning labels for smokeless tobacco that are untrue and discourage smokers from switching. An article published in the journal Tobacco Control described focus groups with smokers to explore attitudes about snus: “Participants were skeptical [sic] of the idea that snus was safer than cigarettes and did not see it as an acceptable substitute for cigarettes or as a cessation aid.” Of course they were skeptical. They have been purposely misled about product safety. Research shows that modern smokeless tobacco products do not cause mouth cancer or gum disease; however smoking does cause these diseases and many others. All these alternatives eliminate the smoking-related risk of lung disease, reduce risk of all types of cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Let’s try providing truthful information to the public and see what happens then.

Oct 08, 2011 9:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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