Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, released a statement on March 28, 2019, about FDA’s new efforts to reduce tobacco-related disease and death through greater, far-reaching regulation on the tobacco industry. Coming on the heels of his announced departure from his role as of June 2019, the work would ensure his legacy as a staunch proponent of smoking cessation.

In his final remarks, Gottlieb committed FDA’s outsight jurisdiction on tobacco products to oversee greater control for the advertising and marketing of addictive substances, especially to minors. Gottlieb’s efforts are highlighted by the U.S. surgeon general’s announcement declaring e-cigarettes and vaping a youth epidemic.

According to Gottlieb, FDA’s goal is to dramatically reduce nicotine use by making it nonaddictive, along with supporting ways to decrease use by those already using. Moreover, FDA aims to prevent further underage use of tobacco products by curtailing marketing efforts from big vaping companies like Juul. With congressional authority through the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, FDA has rigorous authority to oversee the tobacco industry’s development of current and future products, along with its marketing practices.

“We’re announcing several new actions as part of our commitment to ensure sound regulatory oversight of tobacco products and an effective application review process that considers the impact on public health,” Gottleib said.

E-cigarette use and youth vaping are areas where FDA is tightening control of tobacco consumption, and nurses are weighing in on the issue. In January 2019, ONS member Natalie Hamm, RN, MSPH, provided expert testimony to the Virginia State Senate Finance Committee about the impacts of youth vaping. Hamm’s efforts are just one of the many ways oncology nurses are making an impact through local advocacy.