The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) has submitted comments in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) regarding nicotine levels and flavors in tobacco products.
Earlier this year the FDA issued three ANPRMs, each examining a different issue impacting tobacco products. Flavors, nicotine levels and how it handles regulating the premium cigar category all were under the microscope, indicating that the FDA is potentially willing to reevaluate how it regulates and treats different tobacco products. Whether this reevaluation produces a positive or negative outcome for the tobacco industry is still negotiable but the ANPRMs offer the industry, businesses, stakeholders, advocates and consumers to submit data, research against federal regulation.
For the ANPRM addressing nicotine levels, NATO focused on several different issues including the need for heat-not-burn and other noncombustible tobacco products to be regulated before establishing a standard nicotine level; the need for the FDA to launch an educational media program dissuading adults from providing tobacco products to minors; reconsidering the near-zero level of nicotine in tobacco products that was proposed because it violates a restriction imposed by Congress that nicotine levels be set near zero; the possibility of an illicit market being created for tobacco products due to overregulation; the negative consequences on local governments due to a decline in collection of taxes collected from the sell of tobacco products; the public being confused about the harmful effects of using low-level nicotine products and the overall impact of low nicotine on public health.