Michele Mital to Temporarily Lead Center for Tobacco Products

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Until a permanent replacement for Zeller is chosen, Mital will oversee the CTP and its current agenda which includes the much discussed ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes and a ban on flavored cigar products [read more here]. The CTP has also been considering new limits on the level of nicotine in combustible cigarette products, aiming to set a level so low that barely any nicotine will be present in cigarettes [read more here]. As the temporary leader of the CTP, Mital will also inherit the ongoing Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process that has eliminated numerous vaping and e-cigarette products through the issuing of Marketing Denial Orders. While the agency reports having reviewed a vast majority of the PMTAs it has received, decisions have yet to be issued for many of the leading brands owned by big tobacco including Juul, NJOY, Vuse, and Blu which account for nearly 75 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market. So far, the FDA has yet to authorize any flavored products other than those that are tobacco flavored.

While Mital is viewed as a likely candidate for the permanent position of director of the CTP, other applicants are still under consideration. The new leader of the CTP will be chosen by Robert Califf, the new FDA commissioner, and Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the Health and Human Services.