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UNITED STATES

FDA could lose tobacco regulatory authority

11 Feb 2020. The Trump administration has revealed plans to create a new agency which would take tobacco control away from the responsibility of the FDA, reported CNN.

The plans were announced on 10 February as part of the administration’s wider USD 4.8 trillion budget proposal, and have already been met by condemnation from the public health community. According to the report, before the proposal can be put into place, Congress must first approve the new budget plan, which may, however, mean that the proposals are considerably altered during the approval process.

The new budget proposal describes how, “A new agency with the singular mission on tobacco and its impact on public health would have greater capacity to respond strategically to the growing complexity of new tobacco products.” This has already been met with strong, vocal, opposition. Erika Sward, the assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association, told CNN, “This is an effort plain and clear to install the tobacco industry as the wolf in the hen house.”

There are also concerns that the new proposal would require legislation to amend the Tobacco Control Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2009. At the time, this meant that the FDA received more regulatory authority over tobacco products and the Centre for Tobacco Products was created. However, this has recently been under scrutiny as to how it regulates e-cigarettes, after a series of major public health threats. Despite this, Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told CNN that the FDA is “one of the most credible agencies” and the proposed changes come at the “worst possible time.”