US allows company to advertise tobacco pouch as less risky than smoking

US allows company to advertise tobacco pouch as less risky than smoking
© Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday that it had granted the first-ever approval for eight smokeless tobacco products to be marketed as carrying a "lower risk" of certain types of cancer than cigarettes.

In a press release, the agency announced that eight snus smokeless tobacco products manufactured by Swedish Match USA Inc. would be granted approval through the modified risk tobacco product pathway, which allows products to be marketed as a safer alternative to cigarettes or other smoked tobacco.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Today’s action demonstrates the viability of the pathway for companies to market specific tobacco products as less harmful to consumers, but only following a thorough scientific evaluation by the FDA. Our team of scientific experts examined these applications to ensure that the tobacco products meet the public health standards in the law," acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said in a statement.

"While we are authorizing these specific modified risk tobacco products, it’s important for the public to understand that all tobacco products — including these — pose risk. Anyone who does not currently use tobacco products, especially youth, should refrain from doing so," he added.

Representatives for Swedish Match USA did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

In the FDA's press release Thursday, Sharpless kept open the option of revoking the products' approval in the future if new information reveals claims of a lower risk of cancer to be unfounded.

“In addition to stringent restrictions to limit youth access and exposure to advertising, this time-limited authorization comes with a number of postmarket requirements that will allow us to keep a close watch on the marketplace," Sharpless said. "Should any information lead us to determine that the marketing of these products as posing less risk no longer benefits the health of the population as a whole, the agency would consider withdrawing this authorization.”