The FDA Rejects Proposed Cigarettes for the First Time

Written by Sy Mukherjee

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has, for the first time, exercised new authority to regulate what cigarette products are safe enough to be sold on the market. The agency announced on Tuesday that it has rejected four new proposed cigarette types (while approving two other ones) under powers it gained under theFamily Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009.

Before President Obama signed the Tobacco Control Act, regulation of cigarettes was largely limited to how they could be advertised and what age groups they could be sold to, leaving tobacco manufacturers near carte blanche over what to put into their products. Those ingredients include carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde, toxic metals like arsenic, and poisonous materials such as ammonia, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide.

Now, the FDA can reject a new product if it finds its chemical makeup to be harmful — and on Tuesday, it did. “This is the first time in history that a federal agency has told tobacco companies that they could not market a new or modified cigarette because of the public health problems they pose,” Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, explained in an interview with the New York Times.

Although the agency isn’t allowed to disclose which products it denied, FDA official Mitchell Zeller told the Times that several of the proposed cigarettes were rejected due to public health concerns over “more added chemicals than a similar product currently being sold” and incomplete information about their ingredients.

U.S. smoking rates have fallen dramatically in recent years — but just under 20 percent of American adults still smoke, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Smoking-related illnesses add $96 billion to Americans health care costsevery year — much of which is borne by U.S. taxpayers, since poorer Americans on public assistance such as Medicaid tend to have higher smoking rates.

This post was originally published at ThinkProgress.


Photo from Thinkstock


Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore4 years ago

It's a step in the right direction.

Christiana B.
Chris B4 years ago

Second hand smoke, Mary B. That is why.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G4 years ago


Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

Why don't we all just accept that people will smoke, and with that as the starting place, just cut to the basics and outlaw all tobacco unless it is grown organically? Same with pot, and gee, maybe it will occur to everybody that we could do the same with FOOD! Since everybody needs to eat, just seems like a no brainer to me. Government interference in the 'free market'? Tough. The health and well being of our nations people are for more important than huge profit, and maybe, if the contaminents are left out of tobacco and pot, they may not be the addictive health hazzards they've been claimed to be. Ya think? Make it part of the Farm Bill and give growers 5 years to clean up their soil and start useing non GMO seeds so that the seeds that are used will naturally acclimate to the areas they are grown in.Lets try it for the next 50 years and see how it works out. The present way of farming could still be done in small areas just to see how that line of thinking plays out, but no more of letting them rule and contaminate everything else.

Danielle Medina
Danielle Medina4 years ago

Yeah, this is progress, but is overshadowed by the advancement of marijuana as a recreational drug in our society-a drug that will kill your lungs AND kill your gray matter-go figure.

Cherry M.
Cherry M4 years ago

Greg.... ask your liver about how healthy one drink is!!!

JL A4 years ago

a milestone worth celebrating

Tim C.
Tim C4 years ago


Chris P.
Chris P4 years ago

I do not smoke, as it made me sick. Stop taking this drug and live.

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago