WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 19, 2021 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today authorized the marketing of four mint-flavored oral tobacco products previously sold under the Verve brand by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, which is owned by Altria.
Following is a statement from the American Heart Association:
“We are deeply concerned the FDA would allow the sale of any tobacco product with a flavor that has been shown to appeal to kids. Tobacco products in mint and other appealing flavors have long been popular among youth. That’s why the public health community advocates that tobacco companies be prevented from marketing flavored tobacco products of any kind.
“The fact that the FDA’s order applies to oral tobacco products in no way eases our concerns. Tobacco companies have never hesitated to abuse regulatory loopholes large and small to turn tobacco products ostensibly meant for adults into youth-targeted fads that addict young people to their dangerous products. After decades spent addicting youth and adults to products that harm health, we have no confidence the tobacco industry will change its ways now.
“We remain concerned even though the Verve products authorized today are no longer being sold. Other similar products are still under FDA review.
“We are also greatly concerned with the data the FDA used to support its decision. From the FDA’s summary of its decision, it appears Altria was not required to conduct youth-specific studies to justify an authorization for sale. Instead, Altria seemed to rely on extrapolated data. This is very troubling, and it calls into question the reliability of the FDA’s conclusion that youth will be unlikely to begin using tobacco with these products, especially as newer flavored nicotine pouch products begin to significantly increase in market share.
“It is also unclear that oral tobacco products like these will help addicted adult smokers switch to potentially less risky products or quit tobacco use altogether. As the FDA found in its assessment, it is common for Verve users to use multiple tobacco products.
“With the health of our nation’s youth hanging in the balance, we urge the FDA to deny all applications for flavored tobacco products and require all applications to include studies directly involving youth. We also call on the FDA to place greater emphasis on a product’s ability to help smokers stop using cigarettes and other combustible products.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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