Senate Dems push FDA to reject alternative cigarette health claims

Senate Dems push FDA to reject alternative cigarette health claims
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A group of Senate Democrats is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reject an application from Big Tobacco to market a new "heat not burn" cigarette as less risky.

Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter Wednesday signed by eight other Democrats asking FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to deny Philip Morris International’s modified risk application for its new IQOS product, given the recent mixed findings from an FDA advisory board.

The majority of the FDA's Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee panel said last month the company had not proven its product reduced the risk of tobacco-related diseases or that switching to the product presents less of a risk than continuing to smoke cigarettes.

But the board unanimously agreed that switching from cigarettes to the IQOS system, which the company says heats tobacco enough to produce a vapor but doesn't burn the tobacco, significantly reduces a person's exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.

Under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the senators said a modified risk tobacco product must both substantially reduce harm of disease to individual tobacco users and benefit population health.

“Many of us wrote to you in October urging a strict adherence to the Tobacco Control Act’s statutory requirements when evaluating applications for [modified risk tobacco product] claims,” they wrote. “Such thorough review is especially critical given the tobacco industry’s deceitful history of marketing products under the guise of lower risk.”

In addition to Durbin and Blumenthal, the letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Dems introduce bill to ban low-yield nukes Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (Mass.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenate Dems to Trump: Reverse cuts to Palestinian aid Overnight Defense: Details on defense spending bill | NATO chief dismisses talk of renaming HQ for McCain | North Korea warns US over cyber allegations Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law MORE (Md.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Overnight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Trump health official defends funding shifts to pay for detained migrant children MORE (Wash.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts DHS transferred about 0M from separate agencies to ICE this year: report MORE (Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (Ohio), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedNew York Times: Trump mulling whether to replace Mattis after midterms Overnight Defense: Biden honors McCain at Phoenix memorial service | US considers sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo and Iraq | Senators press Trump on ending Yemen civil war Senators press Trump administration on Yemen civil war MORE (R.I.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (R.I.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? MORE (Mass.).