The Trump administration has proposed creating a new federal agency to regulate tobacco products and removing that authority from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The White House’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year proposes making the Center for Tobacco Products independent of the FDA, with a director to be confirmed by the Senate. The new agency would still be under the purview of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“A new agency with the singular mission on tobacco and its impact on public health would have greater capacity to respond strategically to the growing complexity of new tobacco products,” the budget request states. “In addition, this reorganization would allow the FDA Commissioner to focus on its traditional mission of ensuring the safety of the Nation’s food and medical products supply.”
The budget request is unlikely to pass Congress in its current form, according to The Hill, as the idea does not have broad support among lawmakers.
The Trump administration has been cracking down on the tobacco industry over the past year. Recent regulations include a ban on the sale of flavored vape products in an attempt to curb what the FDA has called a youth vaping epidemic.
On Dec. 20, President Donald Trump signed a spending bill that raised the national tobacco minimum purchase age from 18 to 21. On Dec. 28, the FDA issued a directive on its website stating, “It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21.”