Has FDA abandoned its efforts to make fake-cigar cigarettes comply with federal tobacco control laws that apply to cigarettes but not cigars?

Eric N. Lindblom, Darren Mays, Kevin R.J. Schroth, Cristine Delnevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the USA, legal definitions of cigarettes and cigars are critical to tobacco control policy because federal, state and local laws typically tax and regulate cigarettes more strictly than cigars. In 2016, near the end of the Obama Administration, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent warning letters to four filtered 'little cigar' manufacturers stating that their so-called 'cigars' were cigarettes and, therefore, subject to more stringent public health restrictions. Documents produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show that without explanation or public notice FDA has abandoned its prior determination that the manufacturers' 'little cigars' were actually cigarettes and, consequently, were violating the ban on flavoured cigarettes in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA). The documents also present the manufacturers' arguments against FDA's original position. However, those industry arguments are inconsistent with the research, other evidence and legal analysis indicating that filtered 'little cigars' meet the legal definition of cigarettes under the TCA and other similar federal, state and local definitions. To protect the public health, FDA must renew its efforts to ensure that these filtered 'little cigars' do not continue to evade compliance with the many important restrictions and requirements that apply to cigarettes but not cigars. Other government regulatory and tax-collection agencies with similar definitions need to follow suit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2019055395
JournalTobacco Control
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

  • packaging and labelling
  • public policy
  • tobacco industry

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