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FDA: Tobacco Companies Must Reveal Harmful Chemicals

Companies Must Report 93 Tobacco Chemicals, Prove 'Reduced Harm' Products Really Are

By Richard Kearns
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

March 30, 2012 -- Tobacco makers have to tell consumers about all the harmful chemicals in their products, the FDA today ruled.

They also must prove that any "reduced harm" tobacco products they sell actually do make things safer for consumers.

The FDA actions spring from its new powers under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. According to the FDA, the new rules will give the public previously unrevealed information about chemicals in tobacco products. The FDA says it's part of a plan to keep tobacco companies from misleading Americans on the risks of tobacco products.

There are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco products, and the FDA has put together a list of 93 harmful chemicals that tobacco companies will be required to report. The FDA will provide information about how much of these chemicals are found in tobacco products.

"For the first time, all tobacco manufacturers and importers will be required to report quantities of potentially harmful chemicals and chemical compounds in every regulated tobacco product they sell in the United States," says Lawrence Deyton, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

The Tobacco Control Act places strict standards on "reduced harm" tobacco products, which are products that claim to reduce harm or risk of tobacco-related disease. The products must meet these standards before the FDA will allow a company to advertise it with a claim to reduce harm.

The strict standards that are required on the modified-risk tobacco products must show reduced risk of harm or reduced risk of exposure to individuals and benefit the health of the population as a whole.

"We will continue to do everything we can to help smokers quit and prevent kids from starting this deadly addiction," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a news release.

SOURCE: News release, FDA. FDA Teleconference.

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