National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
April 6, 2010 • Volume 7 / Number 7

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FDA Update

New Tobacco Products Advisory Committee Focuses on Menthol Cigarettes

The FDA’s new Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) held its inaugural meeting in Washington, DC, last week. The main focus of the meeting was on menthol in cigarettes, and presentations focused on the demographics of menthol cigarette users, preferential use of menthol cigarettes by persons initiating tobacco use, the health effects of menthol in cigarettes, the effects of menthol on addiction and cessation, marketing and consumer perceptions about menthol cigarettes, the sensory qualities of menthol cigarettes, and the effects of menthol on how cigarettes are smoked.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, enacted last year, granted the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products and required the formation of the TPSAC. Under the new law, the committee is required to submit a report by March 23, 2011 to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the public health impact of using menthol in cigarettes.

The 2-day TPSAC meeting can be viewed in its entirety on the FDA’s tobacco products Web site. A second meeting, focusing on tobacco industry research and documents related to menthol and cigarettes, is planned for summer 2010.

Advisory Panel Recommends Restrictions on Tanning Bed Use by Minors

On March 25, the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel of the FDA’s Medical Devices Advisory Committee recommended that the agency consider restricting minors’ access to indoor tanning beds by requiring parental consent or outright banning their use by those under the age of 18. The panel also recommended that the FDA reclassify indoor tanning beds from Class I to Class II or Class III medical devices, which would allow for greater regulatory oversight. An increase in tanning bed use is one factor blamed for the rising incidence of melanoma in the United States, and a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning was included in the health reform bill signed by President Obama on March 23.

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