For a number of years CRE has been calling to the attention of public health leaders the substantial risk inherent in illicit tobacco products.

The levels of toxic metals in illicit cigarettes relative to branded cigarettes is alarming. A study sponsored by the University of St. Andrews (UK) and replicated in part by the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded:

Cadmium levels in illicit products are nearly five times that of branded products.

Arsenic in illicit products are nearly three times that of branded products.

Cadmium and arsenic are not only are carcinogens but are associated with cardiovascular and renal toxicities.

Editor’s  Note: The following is a statement issued by the FDA.  We call your particular attention to a comment from the public which is at the end of this post. FDA is bound by the requirements of the Data Quality Act which, among other things, does not allow the substitution of value judgments for scientific judgments.




No tobacco product is safe.


But some could be more dangerous than others.


By: Richard Craver | Winston-Salem Journal

A Food and Drug Administration scientist has found a lower risk of dying from lung cancer among menthol smokers compared to non-menthol smokers at ages 50 and over.

The scientist, Brian Rostron of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, studied data of 6,074 smokers from 1987 to 2006, including 1,417 who smoked only menthol cigarettes.

The lower risk of dying from lung cancer was found in all age groups, in men and women, and with black smokers compared with white smokers.


Last summer, the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) released a report that was supposed to help guide the FDA in deciding whether to ban menthol cigarettes from the market. Instead of issuing a specific recommendation, however, the TPSAC report merely suggested that the agency should consider all of the potential effects of a menthol ban if it does consider such a policy. Unlike TPSAC, however, ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross has a strong opinion on the potential menthol proscription: He thinks it’s a bad idea. “The rationale for such a ban is flawed, and the repercussions will be dangerous for public health,” he says.

CS News  Online

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are joining forces to find out why people use tobacco. The two agencies have officially launched a nationwide study they first announced in October.

The $118.3-million “Population Assessment on Tobacco Health Study” (PATH) will recruit more than 40,000 smokers and non-smokers from across the country and study them over the course of five years. Study participants will include about 7,000 youths between 12 and 18 years old.