The Food and Drug Administration, the health body that regulates cigarettes and tobacco products in the US, has rejected an application by Swedish Match North America Inc. that would allow tobacco distributors to market snus pouches as less harmful that regular cigarettes.
Snus, oral tobacco that is presented in small pouches, has warnings on its packaging saying that the product can cause gum disease and tooth loss. Swedish Matchâ€™s request was to remove this warning, but the FDA wonâ€™t allow it to.
However, the FDA has given the company the option to communicate that snus presents â€œsubstantially lower risks to health than cigarettesâ€.
Jim Solyst, vice president for federal regulatory affairs at Swedish Match, has said they will respond to the FDA.
â€œThere are many positives we see in the correspondence. As weâ€™ve progressed through this process, weâ€™ve gotten a better idea of what is needed.â€
Mitch Zeller, director of the FDAâ€™s Center for Tobacco Products, said that Swedish Match deserve a lot of credit for being the first to make such a request, and are open to â€œcome in and talk to themâ€.
The FDA must decide if alternative tobacco productsâ€™ marketing are safe, would reduce harm and benefit the health of the population.
Despite Zeller’s kind words and admiration for the Swedish Match, the FDA rejected their request. It remains to be seen how the situation develops.