The Federal Government Marches Forward

"Missed opportunities to save lives" is perhaps the best way to describe the federal government's actions – or lack thereof – to reduce death and disease caused by tobacco use in 2012. While the Obama Administration deserves great credit for its first term accomplishments in implementing policies that will reduce tobacco use across the nation, in 2012 almost all meaningful action to reduce the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. by the Administration ground to a halt. The complete lack of action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was particularly noteworthy.

Food and Drug Administration Largely Absent with its Failure to Assert Authority over All Tobacco Products

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave FDA immediate authority over cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products and gave FDA the ability to then assert authority over all other tobacco products, including cigars, e-cigarettes, hookah and pipe tobacco. Despite announcing two years ago that it would assert jurisdiction over tobacco products other than cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, FDA has yet to publish a proposed rule.
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FDA Must Be Proactive to Combat the New Ways Industry is Targeting Kids

FDA also must ensure it is keeping pace with new tobacco industry and tobacco industry surrogate marketing techniques. As the use of social media as well as handheld devices such as smartphones continues to grow, FDA must take aggressive action to ensure it is out in front of the curve to prevent kids from becoming victims to the tobacco industry.
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FDA Inactive on Scientific Recommendations and New Tobacco Product Standards

FDA has not moved to implement recommendations from its own Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee or put forth a new tobacco product standard, or new requirements that would impact all tobacco products, including ones that have been sold for decades, such as menthol cigarettes.
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Missed Opportunity to Increase Cessation Coverage for Millions of American Smokers

As the federal and state governments work to implement the Patient Protection and Afford¬able Care Act , there is huge potential to provide millions of more smokers with the help they need to quit. However, the Administration has not sufficiently capitalized on new opportunities to help tobacco users quit. While tobacco control measures in the Department of Defense have stalled and the Tobacco Control Treaty remains unsigned, a notable exception to Federal Government inaction was the Tips from Former Smokers Campaign.
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