FDA Warns Three Tobacco Manufacturers About Making False Claims About “Healthier” Cigarettes

Healthy Living

November 1, 2015

What People Trying to Quit Smoking Need to Know About “Healthier” Cigarettes

Anyone who has ever become addicted to smoking cigarettes knows just how hard it is to quit smoking, research says it is more difficult to quit smoking than it is to kick heroin. And as the price of cigarettes has risen astronomically, so too has the social stigma for smokers. Everywhere you go smokers typically are less and less welcome, smoke free restaurants, bars, hospitals, school zones, workplace buildings, condos and apartment buildings, there are even some states trying to pass legislation that you will not be allowed to smoke in your own car. The pressure for smokers to quit couldn’t get much more intense and that’s not even beginning to touch on the health hazards and heart strings that are pulled when a member of a family smokes against their loved ones wishes.

Studies have shown most people who have smoked for 15 or more years have tried to quit smoking, unsuccessfully, at least twice. Most smokers say they would love to quit, but the physical and psychological addiction is so strong they just haven’t been able to do it. As a result many of these smokers have been looking for healthier options and have switched to cigarettes that are being marketed as “natural” or “addictive free” thinking this will reduce the health hazards or enable them to quit smoking altogether. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has come out with a very strong statement about these claims.

FDA Issues Warnings to ITG Brands, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco and Sherman

In August the FDA sent letters of warning to the three mentioned (above) tobacco manufacturers to stop marketing Natural American Spirit, Winston and Nat Sherman cigarettes as “natural” or “addictive free.” This is the FDA’s first use of its power under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 to control marketing claims such as the ones these three companies have used, claiming to provide healthier cigarettes. In the letters the FDA sent to the three companies the FDA specifically stated that the manufacturers did not have the agency’s permission to claim their products were less dangerous or less harmful than other tobacco products, or that they did not contain certain harmful components than other tobacco manufacturers products do.

According to the FDA, it is their responsibility to be certain that the labeling on tobacco products is not misleading consumers. The FDA states that tobacco manufacturers cannot make claims that their cigarettes are less harmful, addictive free or natural without scientific supported evidence that has been approved by the FDA as valid. The 2009 law requires tobacco manufacturers to submit a “modified risk tobacco product” application, in conjunction with scientific evidence in order to make the claim that their product is less harmful than other manufacturers are. According to the FDA, they have not approved any such products since the law went into effect. They further stated they are reviewing ten applications for smokeless products from the manufacturer Swedish Match.

The FDA is Sending a Strong Message

The tobacco industry has a long history of deceiving consumers about the dangers of their products, and the message that the 2009 law sends is that lobbyists cannot buy their way out of this legislation. Misleading labeling to convince consumers that the product they are purchasing is less harmful or not addictive will not be tolerated any longer. It is the FDA’s responsibility to protect the public from companies making false claims that can injure the health of Americans and that is exactly what the 2009 law is intended to do. The FDA appears to be intent on fulfilling the law. As for the manufacturers, they have 15 days to respond to the FDA’s warning letters.

So, if you are a smoker, do not be fooled by deceptive advertising, there is no such thing as a healthier cigarette, end of story. Your best solution is to contact the American Lung Association or American Cancer Society for the latest information, tools and assistance on how you can stop smoking, you can do it just try till you succeed!