By Marti Lotman
The Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health announced Thursday that they will be working to follow the health and behavior of 40,000 smokers aged 12 and older to study the effects of sweeping 2009 tobacco regulations.
Congress asked the FDA to regulate tobacco products that year and the agency has since overseen the advertisement and product designs of the tobacco industry, including marketing to children.
The new study aims to not only make consumers even more aware of the risks associated with tobacco products, but to help modify regulations.
“The results will strengthen the FDA’s ability to fulfill our mission to make tobacco-related death and disease part of America’s past,” Margarat Hamburg, FDA Commissioner, said in a statement.
In 2010, the number of Americans aged 12 and older who used tobacco products hovered around 70 million, according to the FDA. Each year, 443,000 deaths are caused by cigarette smoking.
The 2009 regulations have been the target of lawsuits from tobacco manufacturers, who argue the government has overstepped its authority.