Apr. 27 2001
Washington, DC — News reports today that two tobacco companies are preparing to market candy-like tobacco lozenges packed with nicotine adds to the growing evidence that Congress should act quickly to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration full and effective authority to regulate all tobacco products.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Star Scientific Inc. and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. are teaming up to manufacture and market a product called Ariva – nicotine-packed, mint-flavored tobacco lozenges that look like Tic Tac candies. This is a another in a long line of irresponsible efforts by the tobacco industry to market products that appeal to kids, discourage smokers from quitting and add to the addiction, disease and death cause by tobacco products. Unless the FDA succeeds in asserting jurisdiction over the new product under its existing authority to regulate food and drug products, this will be yet another addictive and dangerous product that is free of any consumer protections or government regulation.
This new product adds to the growing list of reasons why Congress must give the FDA real authority to regulate tobacco products. It is patently absurd that nicotine delivery products manufactured by the tobacco industry remain virtually unregulated while other nicotine delivery devices, such as Nicorette gum or NicoDerm patches, are subject to clinical trials and FDA regulation.
Even more ridiculous is the fact that a consumer walking into a convenience store could have the choice between cigarettes, these new tobacco pills or Nicorette gum, all of which deliver nicotine, but only have consumer protections applied to the product that causes the least harm.
The only explanation for the tobacco industry's special treatment is the millions of dollars of campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures that enable the industry to buy protection from regulation. It should come as no surprise that the industry is once again putting its profits ahead of the public health.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 Americans every year. It is time for Congress to reject tobacco industry influence and protect the public health by giving the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacture, sale and marketing of tobacco products.