Drag seen on smokeless-tobacco regulations

“WARNING: This product can cause mouth cancer.”


“WARNING: This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.”

“WARNING: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.”

“WARNING: Smokeless tobacco is addictive.”

Beginning Tuesday, interested parties will have 60 days to make their case for more stringent regulations, potentially including warnings that take up greater space on packaging.

“We are interested in comments, supported by scientific evidence, regarding what changes, if any, to the smokeless tobacco product warnings would promote greater public understanding of the risks associated with the use of smokeless tobacco products.,” the FDA notice reads.

The agency won authority in 2009 to regulate cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. Of late, however, few steps have been taken to rein in the tobacco industry, the American Lung Association said.

"In 2012, almost all meaningful action by the administration to reduce the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. ground to a halt," the group said in a report issued this month. “The complete lack of action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was particularly noteworthy."

Annual industry spending on advertising and promotions for smokeless tobacco products declined in recent years, but still totaled more than $400 million as recently as 2010, the report found. 

This story was updated on Feb. 1.