Quarles says FDA regulation on smokeless tobacco would ‘devastate’ Kentucky growers

Asks for regulation to be withdrawn

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 10, 2017) — Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to withdraw a proposed regulation on smokeless tobacco products that would have a “devastating” economic impact on dark tobacco growers and businesses in Kentucky.

“The negative economic impact of this proposed rule will be devastating if implemented,” Quarles wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price dated March 6. The proposal to limit the N-Nitrosonornicotine level in finished smokeless tobacco products to one part per million, Quarles wrote, “is not realistic or achievable for numerous reasons. This product standard, if approved, would in fact ban the sale of smokeless tobacco products in the U.S.”

Quarles wrote that the FDA did not accurately estimate the economic impact of the proposed rule and did not propose a standard that was “technically achievable” as required by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. He suggested that stakeholders be brought together to create a new standard that is realistic and achievable and would not create a devastating economic impact.

Kentucky led the nation in production of dark fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco in 2015 at 31.7 million pounds and 13.75 million pounds, respectively.