The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that they have partnered to fund 14 new “Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science.” The agencies will put up $53 million for the program, which will be directed by the NIH Office of Disease Prevention.
“While we’ve made tremendous strides in reducing the use of tobacco products in the U.S., smoking still accounts for one in five deaths each year, which is far too many,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH. “FDA/NIH partnerships like the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science keep us focused on reducing the burden and devastation of preventable disease caused by tobacco use.”
According to the FDA, the program is meant to “aid in the development and evaluation of tobacco product regulations.” It will bring in scientists from many different fields to research tobacco regulation and addiction, while also serving as training centers for future tobacco researchers.
“For the first time, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the federal government, through the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, is able to bring science-based regulation to the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products,” said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner. “The FDA is committed to a science-based approach that addresses the complex public health issues raised by tobacco product regulation.”
Fourteen different proposals under the new program have already been selected by the NIH. Researchers across the U.S. have received grants from the program for research related to the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science’s seven interest areas. The interest areas include the diversity of tobacco products; reducing tobacco addiction; reducing the toxicity and carcinogenicity or tobacco; the adverse health consequences of tobacco, communications, the marketing of tobacco products, and the economics of the tobacco industry.