Overnight Regulation: FDA bans sales of 4 cigarette brands

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATIONS, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Tuesday evening here in Washington and everyone's buzzing about the pope's visit, only a week away. Lawmakers have promised to be on their best behavior. http://bit.ly/1Y9gqnM

Here's what else is going on:

 

THE BIG STORY

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on combustible tobacco products, but mums the word on when the agency will assert its authority and regulate electronic cigarettes and cigars.

The agency is ordering R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to stop selling or distributing four of their cigarette products -- Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13 cigarettes.

After evaluating the products, FDA said it determined they were not substantially equivalent to a valid product already on the market, as the manufacturer had claimed, and raised different public health concerns.

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The order means the products can no longer be sold, distributed, imported or marketed in interstate commerce. FDA is giving retailers 30 days to pull items from their inventories.

In a press release, R.J. Reynolds said it "strongly disagrees" with the FDA’s ruling.

“We believe that our substantial equivalent applications fully satisfied the guidance the agency provided,” said Jeffery Gentry, the company’s executive vice president of operations and chief scientific officer.

“We supplied the agency with extensive information on each of the products and responded to all of the agency’s questions. Our product stewardship process is rigorous and ensures that we are producing the highest quality products that meet regulatory requirements."

But Tuesday's FDA announcement also raised questions about when the agency will finalize its deeming rule and issue the first-ever regulations for e-cigarettes and cigars, industry and consumer groups say are long overdue.

"While we're not surprised that there is a question being asked about deeming, we can't answer that," Mitch Zeller, director of FDA'S Center for Tobacco Products, told The Hill during a press call with reporters.

Congress gave the FDA the authority to regulate these other tobacco products in 2009, as part of the Family Smoking Prevention Act. It took the agency until April 2014 to propose the rule. Lawmakers and health groups say the agency has exceeded its deadline for the final rule.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) commended the FDA for its actions Tuesday, but called on the agency to do more to protect consumers.

"The evidence is clear on the harmful, addictive nature of e-cigarettes and the FDA must finalize the long-overdue deeming rule to ensure the public is aware of and protected from the harmful effects of these products,” he said in a statement.

 

ON TAP

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a regulatory reform hearing. http://1.usa.gov/1UEZVAC

The House Agriculture Committee will hold the second in a series of oversight hearings on the U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://1.usa.gov/1F1166p

The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee will hold oversight hearings to examine an a toxic mine waste spill the Environmental Protection Agency is blamed for causing. http://1.usa.gov/1F7rbR8 and http://1.usa.gov/1K7dIFO

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 148 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administration actions in Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register.

--The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will propose new guidelines for restaurants and retailers that sell prepared food.

The FDA's draft guidance coming Wednesday will provide restaurants with more instruction on following the agency's new menu labeling requirements issued last December.

The menu labeling rules require certain restaurants and grocery stores to list the number of calories in prepared food they sell, but many companies complained they were unclear on how to follow the rules.

The draft guidance will provide more instruction on how to comply with the menu labeling requirements.

The public has 45 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1F0WqO4

--The Interior Department will considering regulating Santa's sleigh.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is requesting approval from the Obama administration to continue collecting information from people who use Alaskan reindeer as pets.

"The information to be provided includes an applicant's name and address, and where an applicant will keep the reindeer," the agency wrote. "The applicant must fill out an application for a permit to get a reindeer for any purpose, and is required to report on the status of reindeer annually."

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1OcT6SB

--The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will update the list of foreign vehicles that may be imported into the U.S., even though they were not manufactured to comply with federal safety standards.

The changes go into effect immediately. http://bit.ly/1Lf7Tud

--The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will crack down on a new synthetic marijuana.

The DEA is temporarily listing the synthetic cannabinoid in schedule 1 along with other drugs such as heroin.

The changes go into effect immediately. http://bit.ly/1NBsLO4

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Paid leave: Professors from the nation's most prestigious business schools are banding together to urge Congress to approve a national paid family and medical leave law. http://bit.ly/1ieY9oj

Antibiotic-free meat: Consumer, food and health groups are calling on the CEOs of the nation's top 25 restaurant chains to only serve meat and poultry that's free of antibiotics. http://bit.ly/1W0NOez

Pot: Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley is making a play for the marijuana vote. http://bit.ly/1M9AtvR

Cameras in court: "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert pressed Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court's ban on cameras in an interview Monday. http://bit.ly/1Kd2uQ2

Sodium: Health experts and industry groups are clashing over national sodium standards ahead of a fall congressional debate over first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama to lead female celebrity dodgeball team in 'Late Late Show' face-off Obamas sign deal with Spotify to produce podcasts Obamas sign deal with Spotify to produce podcasts MORE's signature school lunch regulations. http://bit.ly/1JahxIv

Holiday jobs: UPS said Tuesday it will hire 90,000 to 95,000 employees -- about the same as last year -- to help handle shipping and deliveries over the holiday season, theAP reports. http://bit.ly/1Y9lIj8

Solitary confinement: Virginia has appealed to the Supreme Court to weigh in on the use of prolonged solitary confinement on death row, The New York Times reports. http://nyti.ms/1Kl7L7g

GE jobs: General Electric Co. said on Tuesday it will move as many as 500 U.S. power turbine manufacturing jobs to Europe and China, Reuters reports, citing the closure of the Export-Import Bank. http://reut.rs/1Mpal31

 

BY THE NUMBERS

1,420 mg: On average, the current limit for sodium in a high school lunch.

740 mg: On average, the limit for sodium in a high school lunch by 2022.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Why can't we watch you if the Supreme Court repeatedly rules that we can be watched by the government?" -- Stephen Colbert, host of "The Late Show," to Justice Stephen Breyer, pressing him to allow cameras in the court.

 

We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and@wheelerlydia.

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