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Experts Call for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products

2-year project also urges higher cigarette taxes, more oversight of advertising claims

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- All tobacco products in the United States should be regulated by the federal government, according to a report released Wednesday by a panel of 26 of the nation's leading tobacco control researchers and policy experts.

"Bold thinking is required to reverse the catastrophic projections for tobacco-caused deaths in this century," panel co-chair Mitchell Zeller, a health policy expert with Pinney Associates and a former associate commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said in a University of Minnesota news release.

During a two-year process called The Strategic Dialogue on Tobacco Harm Reduction, the experts developed recommendations on ways to regulate tobacco products based on public health needs, as well as ways to help tobacco users who are unable or unwilling to quit to switch to the least harmful nicotine products.

The group recommended:

  • Regulation of harmful compounds in all tobacco products.
  • Regulation of all aspects of tobacco promotion, advertising and labeling.
  • A ban on claims of reductions in users' exposure to harmful components in tobacco or smoke unless there is sufficient scientific evidence that there is also a reduction in health risk.
  • Accurate education of the public about the relative risks of different nicotine-containing products.
  • Higher taxes on cigarettes.
  • Expanded anti-tobacco advertising.
  • Strong programs to encourage and support people's efforts to stop using tobacco.

The recommendations appear online in the journal Tobacco Control.

Under what they called the "continuum of risk," the experts also noted that cigarettes are the most dangerous tobacco product and that medicinal nicotine products, such as nicotine gum and patches, are less harmful th

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