• Tobacco Regulation Update from NATO

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    Updated State Excise Tax Maps
    Accompanying this NATO News Bulletin are updated maps with state excise tax rates for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, smoking tobacco, large cigars, little cigars, and electronic cigarette/vapor products.  These maps are an excellent reference resource on state excise tax rates.

    Perspectives on FDA Commissioner’s Statement on E-Cigarettes

    Last week on Friday, January 18th, the FDA held a public hearing on the potential use of drug therapies to help youth that are addicted to e-cigarettes.  According to a news report from The Hill, “FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he could see the entire category of e-cigarette and vaping products removed from store shelves if companies don’t stop marketing such products to youth.”  The report quoted Commissioner Gottlieb as saying, “I’ll tell you this. If the youth use continues to rise, and we see significant increases in use in 2019, on top of the dramatic rise in 2018, the entire category will face an existential threat.”

    This reported statement attributed to Commissioner Gottlieb needs some perspective.  First, manufacturers of electronic cigarette products are implementing measures to further prevent youth access to electronic cigarette products.  Second, retailers take the job of selling all tobacco products seriously and train their employees to request identification in order to verify the legal age of customers. 

    Third, the word “existential” means relating to existence.  While the FDA is rightly concerned about underage access to and use of electronic cigarettes, Commissioner Gottlieb also stated in a November, 2018 announcement that he recognizes the importance of electronic cigarettes for adults that want to transition away from traditional cigarettes. 

    Fourth, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the law passed by Congress that authorizes the agency to regulate tobacco products, specifically prohibits the FDA from banning the sale of “all cigarettes, all smokeless tobacco products, all little cigars, all cigars other than little cigars, all pipe tobacco, or all roll-your-own tobacco products…”  In 2007, when the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was introduced in Congress, electronic cigarettes were for all intents and purposes not on the market, which explains why the legislation did not include a specific reference preventing the FDA from prohibiting the sale of “all electronic cigarettes.”  Even so, such an action would require the agency to propose a formal regulation and follow a nine-step procedure under federal law that could take several years to conclude before actually banning the sale of an entire category of tobacco products. 

    Fifth, NATO has asked the FDA to consider the establishment of a working group comprised of FDA Center for Tobacco Products staff members and representatives of the tobacco industry to discuss and explore means to reduce youth access to and use of electronic cigarettes.  Other federal agencies have formed such working groups with various industry participants to have an on-going dialogue about regulatory issues.  NATO is waiting for a reply from the FDA about this working group proposal.

    Reminder: Register for NATO Education Seminars and TPE Show

    During 2019, NATO will be holding a series of education seminars for all NATO members to attend.  These seminars bring together expert presenters with updates and insights on the most important and current tobacco-related issues.

    The first NATO education seminar will be held on February 11, 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada in conjunction with the 2019 TPE Show.  The seminars will be presented in a special area of the TPE Show exhibit hall.

    The presenters for the NATO education seminar and their topics include the following:

    • 1:30 PM  Don Burke, Management Science Associates:  Tobacco Market Trends 
    • 2:30 PM  Thomas Briant, NATO Executive Director:  Legislative and FDA Regulatory Update
    • 3:30 PM  Bonnie Herzog, Wells Fargo Securities:  Wall Street Update on the Tobacco Industry
    • 4:30 PM  Cocktail Reception

    To register to attend the NATO education seminar at no charge, click on the link below and complete the registration form.

    In addition, all NATO members are encouraged to attend the upcoming TPE 2019 Show.  NATO members can register to attend the upcoming Tobacco Plus Expo 2019 by using NATO’s Booth Number “1029” in the “If You Have a Promo Code” box on the trade show registration’s page.  For 2019, the TPE Show will have a new three-day format and will be held on February 11-13, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This tobacco show brings together top brands and buyers from the premium tobacco, tobacco-related, vapor, and alternative industries and offers the newly-expanded open show floor times of 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Monday, February 11th, 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesday, February 12th, and 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM on Wednesday, February 13th.  To register to attend the TPE 2019, please click on the link below:

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