Marlboro Menthol and Newport cigarettes for sale at 7-Eleven in Tarrytown, Nov. 28, 2022. A proposed ban will stop the sale of menthol cigarettes in Westchester County. Menthol Cigarettes

FDA Proposes new tobacco requirements surrounding it’s design and manufacturing processes

By Noel Sanchez April 11, 2023

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed an established framework March 8 for all manufacturers of finished and bulk tobacco products in order to make these products safer to consume and ensure they are not contaminated with foreign substances, have proper labelings, and have been packaged properly.

While the FDA does not expect these changes to make tobacco products safe all-around, they believe everybody that purchases these products should be given the highest quality and know exactly what they are putting into their body as they have done multiple studies on the negative effects tobacco has on people, especially college students.

“I do believe that tobacco use is still of concern, particularly among college students,” said Kinesiology Assistant Professor Koyya Lewis-Trammell. “Many people choose to use tobacco either because they feel pressured to do so or they believe it will alleviate their stress. This makes tobacco particularly attractive to college students who are pressured to fit in socially and under immense stress.”

Studies have shown over the past few decades that tobacco products have been nothing but detrimental to people’s health. The likelihood of getting different forms of cancer, lung diseases and heart failure all skyrocket with any form of smoking or inhaling tobacco. The National Institute of Health has compiled recent records and found even with recent advances in tobacco production, it is still overwhelmingly harmful to people’s health.

However, one of the biggest reasons these rates have gone up recently has been due to improper processes when putting together the products. Different forms of metal and plastic have been found in many tobacco products and the labels on them do not accurately display what is in these products. The FDA is making strides and attempting to see that the people in charge of creating such harmful products are at least held accountable while they do so.

“I believe that more regulation on a hazardous product will help to reduce unnecessary adverse health effects, but it is still a hazardous product,” said Lewis-Trammell. “Yes, I think it will help, but it doesn’t make tobacco a safe product.”

Noel Sanchez | The Poly Post

Tobacco has been ranked as one of the most addicting substances in the world.

“I do not support the use of tobacco products by any means, but I also understand that everybody has the right and freedom to do so as long as they are the proper age,” said Kinesiology and Health Promotions student Jason Mitilica. “I would hope that they were being supplied with something that is the proper quality and being made in a factory that follows the rules. It is just like when we purchase food. Restaurants are held to certain guidelines to make sure their customers are given food that is up to standard.”

Mitilica certainly raises an interesting point in the factories need to be inspected more often and checked to see if the workers are following the plans in place to see their products meet the quality they should.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco-related moralities are high and only growing each year. Right now, it is estimated these products lead to about 480,000 deaths annually To put into perspective, that makes every one in five deaths a result of tobacco.

“I’ve always felt that the tobacco market as a whole makes way too much money as a whole for any big changes to ever be made,” said Public Health student Felix Hernandez. “Those in charge of tobacco companies hold a firm grasp on our world and have been doing so for decades now.”

Lewis-Trammell echoed the thoughts of Hernandez but believes this proposal would put our country on a better path.

“On the federal level, I do not believe this brings the FDA one step closer to banning tobacco use,” said Lewis-Trammell. “Tobacco is too embedded into this country’s history and the availability of tobacco is far more political than whether or not it is good for people. With that said, increasing the regulation of tobacco production is a step in the right direction.”

A public oral hearing will be held for the FDA to further push their agenda with these changes and hear thoughts from other parties involved. A 180-day period will then be placed for others to review their guidelines and relay feedback.

Feature image by Noel Sanchez

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