NAQC’s Response to HHS Announcement on Tobacco Control Strategy and Draft FDA Warning Labels
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
On November 10, HHS announced a new comprehensive tobacco control strategy outlining strategic actions, based on scientific evidence and extensive real-world experience, that will serve as a roadmap for reaching the Healthy People objective of reducing the adult smoking rate to 12% by 2020. The strategy engages all sectors of the public health and health care community and emphasizes the importance of reaching underserved and priority populations. NAQC fully supports the strategy, looks forward to working with HHS and other partners on it, and encourages HHS to commit funding for implementation of the strategy.
At the same event, FDA unveiled its proposed tobacco health warning labels and opened a 60-day comment period on the proposed warning labels and the related proposed rule. FDA recommends increasing the size of the warning label to 50% of the front and back of tobacco packages and to include graphic warnings. Although NAQC supports the use of graphic warnings, Linda Bailey expressed disappointment that the proposed warning labels currently do not include 800-QUIT-NOW. NAQC has long advocated for using the warning labels to provide smokers with a health warning along with resources to help them quit.
The proposed rule contains a section that opens the door for including 800-QUIT-NOW on the warning label – Section 1141.16, Disclosures Regarding Cessation (see pages 64-67). Under this section, FDA proposes that "one or more of the required warnings include specified information about an appropriate smoking cessation resource” and that "the final rule should require that a specified reference to a smoking cessation resource be included in the required warnings.” The section goes on to say that the cessation resource should meet specific criteria designed to ensure that the cessation information, advice and support provided are unbiased and evidence-based. NAQC encourages all members to read this section of the proposed rule from FDA.
Call to Action: NAQC staff will develop draft comments to FDA and circulate these to members and partners for feedback. It will be important to show support for inclusion of 800-QUIT-NOW on the warning labels. Please watch your email for opportunities to take on this issue!
Important dates to remember:
- NAQC draft comments will be circulated by mid-December
- Comments to FDA are due by January 11, 2011
- FDA will issue a final rule in June 2011
- The final rule will become effective in September 2012
To see the proposed rule and warning labels: http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/CigaretteProductWarningLabels/default.htm