It is true, FDA now has control of tobacco products with the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act thanks to President Obama's signature. S.1147, The PACT Act of 2009, will also become law sooner than later. As much as we may protest, sign petitions, and even contact our so-called Representatives in Washington, PACT will pass. There is simply too much money at stake for the Federal, State and Local Governments for it not to.
As frightening as the language of both pieces of legislation is to American legal tobacco users, becoming law is just the beginning. It is after they become law that these types of bills are the most dangerous. I'm going to use FDA regulation of tobacco to illustrate that.
As detailed in some places as FSPATC and PACT appear to be, they are just the frame of the house. Everything else is left to the whims and agendas of the enforcing agencies; in this case FDA and BATF.
FDA on Flavored Tobacco..
The following quotes from FDA Directives and from the new FDA Tobacco Czar, Dr. Lawrence Deyton illustrate the danger and the speed which Anti-Tobacco bureaucrats can effect change:
"On September 22, 2009 a ban on cigarettes containing certain characterizing flavors went into effect. The ban, authorized by the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is part of a national effort by FDA to reduce smoking in America.
FDA’s ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes highlights the importance of reducing the number of children who start to smoke, and who become addicted to dangerous tobacco products. FDA is also examining options for regulating both menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes.
According to the act
…a cigarette or any of its component parts (including the tobacco, filter, or paper) shall not contain, as a constituent (including a smoke constituent) or additive, an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice, including strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee, that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke
Any company who continues to make, ship or sell such products may be subject to FDA enforcement actions. You are encouraged to report any company that sells cigarettes with these certain characterizing flavors."
In the above, FDA states that According to the act, the long list of cigarette flavorings; also popular in snus, are now illegal. They even have a special email address for people (read anti-all-tobacco zealots) to report offenders.
BUT in the paragraph above highlighted in red, FDA is already looking at options for banning flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes! That means smokeless tobacco including snus sold in the United States....which would include Swedish and Nordic snus. They state they want to regulate (ban) menthol even though the portion of the Act quoted even says other than tobacco and menthol! Lorillard thought menthol was not permitted to be regulated by FDA. In fact, it just can't be regulated for one year...to get us past the 2010 Congressional Elections.
FDA Continues to Blur the line between "Cigarettes" and "Tobacco"
This next piece is from a September 22 2009 Media Briefing on Ban on Cigarettes with Certain Characterizing Flavors. Notice the word Cigarettes being used again but read these excerpts:
The FDA has just established a Center for Tobacco Products as part of a historic new effort to curb the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths caused by tobacco products each year. As you will hear, this Center will be overseeing the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on June 22, 2009. To protect public health, this historic act gives the FDA new authority to regulate marketing and promotion of tobacco products. We are here today because we know that tobacco addiction is a public health catastrophe.
Tobacco Czar Deyton, in his remarks, used tobacco and cigarettes interchangeably. When talking about flavors which were banned effective September 22nd, he did specifically refer to cigarettes. However, this was his closing statement "This advisory is designed to make sure we all have the facts about the dangers of all types of flavored tobacco products.
During the Q&A period, Gardner Harris of the New York Times asked "...You all have banned flavorings in cigarettes. Have you made any decisions about what to do about flavorings in other forms of tobacco -- small cigars, smokeless tobacco, snuff, other things like that?"
Tobacco Czar Deyton jumped in. "This is Dr. Deyton. I’ll start the answer. The act provides us with authority today to ban cigarettes with certain characterizing flavors. Other flavored tobacco products are issues which we will be studying and certainly be discussing with the Scientific Advisory Committee, which is being set up.
In it's haste to start banning tobacco, FDA may have forgot a few things....
On November 9th, I joined an FDA sponsored conference call with the Industry on the Draft Ingredient Listing Guidance Document . Those of you who follow me on twitter could tell how absolutely flabbergasted I was that FDA had already created enforceable compliance dead-lines without even making sure the processes were possible for the manufacturers to comply with. This call does center on cigarettes but expect similar confusion when smokeless tobacco and snus fall before FDA's gunsights.
I did have the opportunity to ask questions but was simply too stunned to do so. Here is the FDA transcript of the November 9th call. Please note that "SITMA" is really called CITMA. They are an advocacy group made up primarily of small tobacco manufacturers. Kevin Altman is one of the driving forces behind CITMA and his communications to CITMA Members reveal the questions he managed to squeeze in on the call are just the tip of the iceberg.
Never fear, though. Despite industry and consumer confusion, a lack of uniformed standards, reporting documents which don't exist, and a host of other minor inconveniences, the Tobacco Control Act authorized FDA to collect user fees from manufacturers and importers of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and any other tobacco product subject to Chapter IX - Tobacco Products of the FD&C Act. Ready or not, FDA HAS started collecting user fees.
So Why is this important to Smokeless Tobacco Users and what does it have to do with S.1147: PACT?
Both FDA tobacco regulation through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and BATF oversight through the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Actare foundation laws to be built upon and interpreted by the agencies responsible. That's where the rubber hits the road. As their own words damn them above, FDA is going to go after menthol and all forms of smokeless tobacco eventually.
The same thing will happen with S.1147 / The PACT Act of 2009 once it becomes law. BATF will he responsible to enforce certain law-mandated actions whether or not the procedures are in place and more importantly, workable. Public input..YOUR INPUT is critically important on FDA now and on The PACT Act once it's passed. When the enforcing agencies are writing the playbooks, we need to have as much influence as possible. Otherwise both the TSPATC Act and S.1147; The PACT Act of 2009, could be much worse for smokeless tobacco users than they appear already.
PACT regulations the mail-order/Internet distribution of all legal tobacco products (except cigars) to ensure all possible taxes are collected....and "for other purposes". FDA's role is far more dangerous: they will mandate what a Legal Tobacco Product is. Since September 22nd, that no longer includes any clove, strawberry, chocolate, or other flavored cigarettes. These are now illegal to buy or sell in the United States through the mail or over the counter at your local 7-Eleven.
If The PACT Act's clumsy implementation results in a permanent or temporary disruption of Swedish/Nordic Snus mail-order/Internet sales, we will all be greatly inconvenienced and our selection will drop massively...for a time. The main purpose of PACT, striping through the politically correct gibberish, is tax collection of delivered tobacco products; not to prevent it. Swedish Snus users will pay more, but not be denied ultimately.
Since The PACT Act does not really affect over-the-counter sales by licensed distributors and retailers in the United States, Swedish Match could expand it's offerings in US tobacco shops and even bring into play their convenience store/grocery store/gas station over-the-counter distribution system and own the market. Imperial tobacco owns Skruf and could move aggressively in the US if they chose to do so.
HOWEVER, if FDA mandates that all the same flavor bans in place for cigarettes will ultimately apply to smokeless tobacco as well....... there may not be much of a selection left to distribute. If FDA decides to tamper and mandate lower nicotine levels, Big American Tobacco will be happy since they market their snus-like products as an addition to cigarette use; not a replacement. Through this, Swedish/Nordic Snus may simply die on the vine here. We can not let that happen.
Much more to follow including your introduction to our new Tobacco Czar, Dr. Lawrence Deyton............
Activist Snus Lord
Shining the Light of Truth from SnusCENTRAL.org