ASCO has joined with other anti-tobacco stakeholder groups in urging the Food and Drug Administration to deny a petition by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to alter warning labels on smokeless tobacco products. The company’s petition asks FDA to change the language on products, noting that smokeless tobacco “presents substantially lower risks to health than cigarettes.”
ASCO and other anti-tobacco groups said in a letter to FDA that scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes. The organizations say the evidence provides compelling support for stronger warnings on these products. With young people increasingly using smokeless tobacco products, it’s even more important to retain strong public health messages on these products.
Congress is keenly aware of the dangers of unsupported claims by the industry that certain tobacco products offer less dangerous alternatives to smoking, finding that such “reduced risk” claims “can cause substantial harm to the public health to the extent that the individuals, who would otherwise not consume tobacco products or would consume such products less, use tobacco products purporting to reduce risk,” as stated in the letter.