FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products in the United States

FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products in the United States Drugs and drug use is an important topic in society today. According to Hart and Ksir, use of drugs by an individual bears different effects, depending on the nature and type of the drug.Therefore, smokeless tobacco, dip, chew, and other tobacco products contain a considerable amount of nicotine. Nicotine is highly used in the United States, and acts as a sedative and stimulant. Therefore, tobacco use exposes one to addiction, and cellular damage and mouth cancer, in the case of smoking. Nonetheless, the long-term effects of smoking tobacco are cancer, heart disease, and lung disease (Hart and Ksir 224-226). Tobacco use, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, is identified as causing most of the deaths and illnesses experienced in the United States. According to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, approximately 400,000 people die in the Unites States every year, because of health problems resulting from different use of tobacco (WEB). This is more than the number of deaths in the country, which are caused by car accidents, suicides, homicides, and fires, among others, combined. Nonetheless, tobacco growing can be traced to the 1600’s. The tobacco plant was an indigenous plant, which has its roots in North and South America. This grew as a herb, which had medicinal value. In North America, tobacco planting was practiced starting the 1600’s, and the funds acquired was used to continue the American Revolution (Hart and Ksir 222). Until 2009, there was no regulation of cigarettes, use of smokeless tobacco, and other tobacco products in the United States, despite the high health risks this present to users. This paper will therefore, address the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of tobacco products in the USA, reasons for regulation, and some of the issues that complicate FDA’s regulatory process. The issue of regulation of tobacco products has had a rather long history in the United States of America. It was only in 2009 that President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA), which is also called the Tobacco Control Act. This granted the FDA the mandate to regulate tobacco products in the country. Nonetheless, this issue can be traced to the 1960’s and beyond (Devton 167). This raised great concern among some health bodies, when in 1964. the Surgeon General’s Report found out and warned that tobacco smoke results in cancer and heart disease. Basing on this and other reasons, between 1990 and 1996, David Kessler, who was then a commissioner in Food and Drug Administration (FDA), set out a serious discussion about the issue (Brandt WEB). Since FDA is a body that is concerned with the safety of consumer goods, the FDA considered that regulating tobacco would be helpful in improving the safety standards of the people, who consumed tobacco products. Nonetheless, in order to successfully achieve this, the FDA was required to prove that cigarettes and smokeless tobacco were considered as drugs by the Federal law. Therefore, immense research and studies by FDA commenced in 1992, with an aim of determining that tobacco products are harmful to people’s health. Dr. Kessler and FDA therefore, sought to regulate tobacco products in the market. When companies manufacturing tobacco products sued FDA over its intention to regulate tobacco products, the US Supreme court in the year 2000 made a ruling, which clarified that the FDA’s powers were limited, thus did not extend to the regulation of tobacco products. The Supreme Court argued that such powers and mandate to regula