msnbc.com news services
updated 1/5/2011 11:03:00 AM ET 2011-01-05T16:03:00

The Food and Drug Administration says it must review tobacco products that were introduced or changed after February 2007 in order for companies to keep selling them.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

The agency on Wednesday issued guidance to the tobacco industry outlining how to apply for review.

Tobacco makers have until March 22 to prove that the cigarettes or other tobacco products are "substantially equivalent" to ones commercially available before Feb. 15, 2007. That mean the ingredients and design are similar and do not raise different public health concerns -- otherwise they may be prohibited from sale.

The FDA won the authority in 2009 to regulate tobacco products.

"This specific part of the law is meant to ensure that new tobacco products are evaluated by the FDA before they are cleared to enter the marketplace," Dr. Lawrence Deyton, head of the FDA's tobacco center, said in a statement.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments