Last week, the FDA gave a hint as to what was expected of their own Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC): nothing good for public health nor adherence to sound science, no siree, not when it comes to harm reduction products, Swedish Match s snus/smokeless tobacco, in this instance. They appeared to be predicting a long, hard and fruitless endeavor for the snus-makers in their quest for more accurate labeling of the product to conform to the science: snus-type smokeless tobacco has been shown to everyone s satisfaction except the bureaucrats at the FDA and the corrupt public health nonprofits to not cause oral cancer and is obviously much less harmful (safer) than smoking cigarettes. (For any doubters, please see this heart-rending post from the UK's brilliant tobacco expert, Clive Bates: "Death by Regulation.")
Not so fast: the TPSAC members the membership was belatedly (but not thoroughly) purged a few weeks ago, as conflicted members beholden to Big Pharma still predominate could not even bring themselves to admit that snus is safer than smoking.
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? Not at all, sadly: see my prediction that this would happen in last week s media. The so-called mechanism enshrined in the wonderful-sounding but completely useless FDA-tobacco law s Section 911, giving tobacco products makers some hope of relaxing the harsh labels in certain circumstances, is likely to continue to be an ephemera, a now-you-see-it, now-you-don t bait and switch. For instance, Swedish Match s submission took them several years and came to be over 100,000 pages long and yet, the FDA and the TPSAC gave it the back of their hands after what might have been a few hours of consideration. The message: Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here (Dante c. 1321, The Inferno). Hell ain t got nothin on the FDA s inner sanctum, sorry to say.