Having a Republican-controlled US Congress might not lead to a winding back of Food and Drug Administration oversight of tobacco products, according to a story by Richard Craver for the Winston-Salem Journal quoting analysts and industry observers.
But it might mean a push for fewer new regulations at a time when the FDA is deliberating on what to do with ‘alternative tobacco products’, including snus, electronic cigarettes and other vapor products, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, water-pipe tobacco and dissolvable products.
In mid-term elections earlier this month, Republicans, who traditionally have favored less regulation on corporations, won a majority in the Senate and, in doing so, took full control of Congress.
Some Democratic senators have dominated recent congressional hearings on tobacco products with demonstrative demands for FDA action to curtail most marketing of electronic cigarettes and an end to the use of most flavorings. They label electronic cigarettes as a ‘gateway to addiction’ for young people.
A key to the future could come to light in January when the FDA expects to receive a report from the Institutes of Health on tobacco products, particularly on whether to raise the national age restriction for sales from 18 to 21.
“I have to think that if a process is in hand, and a decision is on schedule to be made in January, then the FDA process should go ahead,” said Stephen Pope, managing partner of Spotlight Ideas in London.
“That said, given that the decision will be reached so close to the new Senate being called to order, appeals are likely in the expectation that a GOP-led [Republican (Grand Old Party)-led] Senate and Congress would advocate less, not more, legislation and regulation.”