Tobacco

Tobacco Regulations

ASTHO tracks emerging issues in state tobacco control policies, and submits letters to governing bodies in support of tobacco control measures.

Tobacco Control Act

On July 7, 2015, ASTHO signed on to coalition letter addressed to Appropriations Committee member offices about Section 747 of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2016. The letter explains that by changing the so-called “grandfather date” for these products, Section 747 would exempt them from an important product review requirement and leave FDA with far fewer tools to take prompt action to protect children from the thousands of fruit and candy flavored e-cigarettes and little cigars that flooded the market in recent years. This rider takes away FDA’s ability to review each of these products and evaluate whether their continued marketing will negatively impact public health. ASTHO joined over 40 organizations in opposing the change of the grandfather date under the Tobacco Control Act.

On May 1, 2015, ASTHO signed on to a letter addressed to Chairmen Moran and Aderholt and Ranking Members Merkley and Farr to move forward with the FY 2016 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bills. Furthermore, the letter urges them to approve the authorized level of user fees for the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) oversight of tobacco products and to oppose any effort to limit the authority that Congress granted the FDA under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act).

In January 2015, ASTHO signed a letter to Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell of Department of Health and Human Services in response to a letter sent to Secretary Burwell from Speaker Boehner and others requesting that the grandfather date in the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) be changed from February 15, 2007 to the date of the proposed or final deeming. The TCA established a premarket review process for new tobacco products, which are defined as products introduced after February 15, 2007 and products modified after that date. Currently, tobacco companies that want to market a new tobacco product must first file a new product application seeking to demonstrate that their product is “appropriate to the protection of public health” or a substantial equivalence application seeking to show that their product is substantially equivalent to a grandfathered product on the market prior to February 15, 2007. ASTHO urges Secretary Burwell to reject calls to change the new product grandfather date of the Tobacco Control Act.

Department of Defense (DOD) & Tobacco

In October 2014, ASTHO signed on to a letter addressed to Chairman Levin and Ranking Member Inhofe about the continued discussions over the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015 (NDAA FY 2015). ASTHO urges the language currently included in the House version of the bill that would prohibit the Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the military departments from implementing any new policy to limit, restrict, or ban the sale of any legal consumer product currently sold at commissaries or exchanges is rejected.

Health Reform and Comprehensive Cessation Benefits

On May 2, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor posted a statement that establishes a minimum standard for what cessation services insurers must cover under the Affordable Care Act. Insurers must cover screening for tobacco use and evidence-based tobacco cessation services for those who use tobacco products that includes at least two cessation attempts per year. For each cessation attempt, coverage should include four counseling sessions of at least 10 minutes each (including telephone counseling, group counseling and individual counseling), and all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications (prescription or over-the-counter medications) for a 90-day treatment regimen.

In February 2014, ASTHO signed on to a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking HHS to clearly define the comprehensive tobacco cessation benefit in the Affordable Care Act regulations or in corresponding guidance documents.

E-Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products

On September 3, 2015, ASTHO submitted a comment letter to the FDA regarding the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine, nicotine-containing e-liquids, and emerging tobacco products including dissolvable products, lotions, gels, and drinks.

On April 28, 2015, ASTHO joined a coalition of over 30 other national organizations in sending a letter to President Obama requesting that the Administration finalize the deeming regulation soon.

On July 25, 2014, ASTHO submitted a comment letter to the FDA proposed rule on the regulation of e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookahs (water pipes), nicotine gels, and certain dissolvables that are not smokeless tobacco.

    On June 17, 2014, ASTHO joined a coalition of over 30 other national organizations in sending a letter to the Legislative Directors and Legislative Assistants for Agriculture and Health in the House and the Senate to oppose any amendment to the fiscal year 2015 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would exempt cigars from FDA regulation under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

    On April 24, 2014, the FDA released its proposed rules on the regulation of e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookahs (water pipes), nicotine gels, and certain dissolvables that are not smokeless tobacco. This is an important step in the process of regulating tobacco products currently free of regulation. The FDA currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. ASTHO issued a press release in support of the proposed regulation of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

    On October 23, 2013 ASTHO sent a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the regulation of electronic cigarettes.

    In September 2013, ASTHO joined the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium and a coalition of state and local public health organizations and their national membership organizations in formally filing a Citizen Petition urging the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, cigars, “little cigars,” hookah and other tobacco products currently free of federal regulation. The petition is currently open for comment here.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP) is an agreement on trade that includes the United States and 11 nations around the Pacific. ASTHO recently sent a letter to the White House in January 2014 requesting that tobacco control measures and tobacco products are “carved out” of existing and future trade agreements. Specifically, the “carve out” language must be broad in scope as it relates to tobacco prevention and control and unambiguous in its intent. Malaysia's leadership reportedly has been advocating for a TPP carve-out as well, however, during negotiations held in Singapore in late December 2014, Malaysia may have removed tariffs from their original carve-out proposal. The removal of tariffs may be the only change made to its proposal. After the last round of TPP negotiations, a New York Times article outlined concerns about TPP, prompting a response by its editorial board. ASTHO will continue to provide updates here as they become available.

    Menthol in Cigarettes

    In November of 2013, ASTHO sent a letter urging the FDA to address menthol in cigarettes. ASTHO also signed on to a letter with 24 other organizations asking the FDA to prohibit menthol as a flavor in cigarettes.