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FDA Exerts Authority, Approves and Rejects New Cigarettes

Update Date: Jun 26, 2013 01:32 PM EDT

Smoking is the number one leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Despite this, smokers continue to put their health in jeopardy with every cigarette they light up. Even though antismoking campaigns have successfully encouraged smokers to quit, more measures still need to be taken to protect the health of the community since research has shown that second hand and third hand smoke can be detrimental as well. Now, after four years of holding the power to delegate tobacco products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to review and regulate cigarettes.

Using this power, the FDA has approved two new non-menthol cigarettes from Newport. These two cigarettes were approved because they did not pose any added threats to cigarette smoking in comparison to other cigarettes that have already been on the market. The FDA did reject four cigarettes that failed to prove that they were similar to the products already available. Since these cigarettes did not resemble the cigarettes already on the market, the FDA could not determine if these new products would be more dangerous and did not approve them.  

"Today's history announcement marks an important step toward the FDA's goal of reducing preventable disease and death caused by tobacco," Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, said in a statement. Hamburg is the FDA's commissioner. "The FDA has unprecedented responsibility to protect public health by not allowing new tobacco products under FDA authority to come to market without FDA review."

In 2009, Congress gave the FDA the authority to study the effects and safety of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and rolled tobacco. This power means that the FDA can approve or refuse new tobacco products from entering the market. Once there is an approval, however, it does not mean that the new products are safe just because they are FDA approved. It only means that the products are similar to those that are already on the market where people are made aware of the health risks associated with them. 

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