New FDA request on cigars creates confusion about tobacco regulation, says American Heart Association

March 23, 2018 Categories: Advocacy News

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar. 23, 2018 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement today on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) request for information on premium cigars: 

“As an agency charged with protecting public health, the FDA is sending mixed messages on tobacco regulation with this latest request. 

In the last couple of weeks, the FDA took promising first steps to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes and regulate flavored tobacco products. But this plea for more information on premium cigars raises a red flag that the agency is considering exempting some tobacco products from regulation. 

In its tobacco deeming rule, the agency points to definitive research that all cigar products, including premium versions, can pose serious health risks. If the FDA removes these products from their oversight, that action would stand in stark contrast to a concern they expressed in 2016 that these products should be regulated. It would also send a message that premium cigars are somehow safe and not harmful. 

Cigar smoking is popular among youth and young adults, and studies show that many smoke premium cigars. Exempting these products will undermine public health efforts to reduce youth smoking and potentially motivate more youth to try them. It will also create an incentive for manufacturers to manipulate their products, so they’d qualify as “premium” cigars or seek other exemptions. We know all too well that the tobacco industry will exploit every opportunity to evade regulation and to continue to market and sell their deadly products.

The association strongly disagrees with the FDA’s decision to reexamine premium cigars, especially if it ultimately leads to an exemption. No new research has been issued since the deeming rule that warrants another look at these products or a different decision on their regulatory standing.”

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About the American Heart Association 
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the Association's science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries: 

Retha Sherrod: retha.sherrod@heart.org, 202-785-7929

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
heart.org and strokeassociation.org