American Lung Association Statement in Response to Reagan-Udall Foundation Report on FDA’s Oversight of Tobacco Products

Yesterday, the Reagan-Udall Foundation released their operational evaluation of important parts of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) tobacco program. In response to this new report, American Lung Association’s National President and CEO Harold Wimmer issued the following statement:

“The Reagan-Udall Foundation report on the FDA’s tobacco program provides some important recommendations for FDA and the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). We agree with the report’s primary conclusions that CTP should:
  • become a more proactive and strategic program;
  • become more efficient and transparent; 
  • make process improvements; 
  • identify and address the policy and scientific questions that underpin its regulatory framework; and
  • work with the Department of Justice and other government agencies to clear the market of illegal tobacco products more rapidly.  

“The FDA’s obligation under the Tobacco Control Act is not ‘harm reduction’ but health protection. Unlike other centers at FDA, its responsibility is not to bring more products to market but end the sale of products that don’t meet the public health standard. The Tobacco Control Act also empowered the Center for Tobacco Products to require changes to existing tobacco products if such changes meet its public health mandate – including ending the sale of all menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Fundamentally, the ‘appropriate for the protection of the public health’ standard is about ending our national tobacco epidemic, not promoting certain tobacco products. 

“The American Lung Association was pleased to see the specific recommendations around enforcement and transparency. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and law enforcement agencies are critical to enforcing key provisions of the Tobacco Control Act. The Lung Association continues its call for strict enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act that gets illegal products off the market much more quickly.  

“We are confident that the FDA’s leadership, including FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and Center for Tobacco Products Director Dr. Brian King, will move the Center’s mission forward to protect the public health. We look forward to working with the FDA to support the recommendations in this report that will advance its efforts to improve public health. Most notably, we urge FDA to finalize the two rules that would end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in early 2023.” 

For media interested in speaking with an expert, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or at 312-940-7001. 
For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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