Policy Documents

Research & Commentary: FDA Regulation of Tobacco

The Heartland Institute –
May 31, 2007

Tobacco has never been classified as a food or a drug, and therefore it has not been regulated by any government agency charged with maintaining the safety or efficacy of either.

Now, some lawmakers are calling for regulation of tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The arguments for and against doing so are outlined in the enclosed Research & Commentary package, new from The Heartland Institute.

Inside this R&C, you will learn:

  • FDA regulation might enable manufacturers to make certified claims about risk and risk reduction in their marketing practices;

  • Regulation by FDA could enhance current teenage smoking preventive measures, and encourage new preventive programs; and

  • FDA requirements for ingredient labeling might allow consumers to become more informed about the risks associated with consuming certain ingredients in tobacco products.

However, you will also learn:

  • FDA might already be over-burdened by its existing responsibilities;

  • The FDA commissioner himself is opposed to FDA regulation of tobacco products, stating public health could actually suffer in the long run; and

  • Because there is no safe usage of tobacco, FDA might find itself obligated to support a complete ban on tobacco products, if such a proposal were made in Congress.