APA Fellows Hatsukami and Henningfield Appointed to Advise on Tobacco

March was a historic month for tobacco control efforts. Besides the passage of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act and the Food and Drug Administration's Final Rule restricting access and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to youth, on March 30-31, the relatively new Center for Tobacco Products convened the first meeting of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) with two APA-nominated scientists as voting members.
March was a historic month for tobacco control efforts.  The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, which amongst other provisions will prevent internet sales of tobacco products to minors, passed both the Senate and the House and APA was pleased to join so many other health advocates in endorsing the effort with letters to all members of congress in both chambers.  In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its Final Rule restricting access and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to youth, an effort many APA scientists had been contributing too formally and informally since 1996. And on March 30-31, the relatively new Center for Tobacco Products convened the first meeting of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC).  Among the scientists APA nominated, Dr. Jack Henningfield and Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami were appointed to serve as two of the nine voting members. Following introductory remarks from Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Howard Koe, FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, and the Director of the Center for Tobacco Products, Dr. Lawrence Deyton, TPSAC heard several presentations on menthol; the focus of this first meeting. In a year, the TPSAC will issue a report “The Impact of the Use of Menthol in Cigarettes on the Public’s Health”. As the meeting concluded, TPSAC developed a list of questions that it believes are essential for the tobacco industry to address before the next meeting, tentatively scheduled for sometime this summer.  The questions fall under several broad categories: clinical effects of menthol, marketing/consumer preference data, biomarkers, characterization of menthol, mechanistic studies of menthol/nicotine interactions, and population level effects of menthol.  Additionally, TPSAC developed a second list of questions that it believes can be answered by FDA (or other federal agencies) either by secondary analysis of existing data sets or by commissioning new research. An archive of the meeting webcast should be available by early April.