Government regulations have the potential to greatly reduce the impact of tobacco-related death and disease.

Federal regulations have the potential to save lives by augmenting state and local tobacco control measures. Historically, the Federal Government’s regulatory control over tobacco was limited, but in 2009, Congress greatly expanded it through the passage of the historic Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which granted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco.

The FDA created the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) and quickly implemented several regulations on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, including banning the misleading terms “light” and “low tar,” banning all candy flavors in cigarettes (except menthol), requiring graphic warning labels on cigarette packs and commissioning its advisory committee, the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, to submit a report and recommendations about menthol. Through rigorous research and surveillance, public education and strong regulations, the FDA has the potential to make a significant impact on the tobacco epidemic.