The Food and Drug Administration is moving at a snail's pace when it comes to exercising its relatively new authority to regulate tobacco products. But playing out right now in statehouses around the country is a different form of tobacco regulation; and it is happening at
lighting-fast pace.

Regarding federal FDA regulation, the lack of any major moves is, in many ways,a good thing. It indicates that the agency's leaders understand the complexity of the issue, the need to evaluate the science and the risk of unintended consequences of knee-jerk regulations.

But there's also a downside to how slowly the agency is acting. Uncertainty impedes innovation of lower-risk products that will, sooner or later, be regulated. These tobacco harm reduction products include E-cigarettes and non-combustible tobacco products such as smokeless tobacco (snus).

Smokers in the U.S. and around the world are increasingly using these less harmful products to quit smoking. These products offer nicotine, the addictive but not particularly harmful
component of cigarettes, without the harmful smoke. Clear regulatory guidance, including speedy approval of modified risk claims can benefit public health in ways that hundreds of millions of dollars of government funded anti-tobacco campaigns have been unable to do.
Jeff Stier: Sin Taxes Should at Least Reflect Risk