Tobacco Regulation in the USA


Cigarettes are considered one of the most deadly and dangerous objects in human history. These days, the most developed countries around the world are making considerable progress in the reduction of smoking rates, and the United States is one of them. Various methods were proposed to decrease tobacco consumption among the population such as a ban on advertising, an increase in taxation, an expansion of places free from tobacco, and numerous incentives for smoking cessation. Despite certain success in this sphere, the usage of tobacco products is still one of the major causes of mortality, killing about 480,000 Americans annually (American Cancer Society, 2017). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has considerable authority over the production, marketing, and sale of tobacco products following the adoption of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) in 2009 (American Cancer Society, 2017).

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When the law came into force, the FDA has forbidden the sale of products to minors, the use of unsubstantiated health claims in advertising and packaging, free samples of cigarettes, and the use of fruit and chocolate flavors in cigarettes. Thus, it is a public and social health policy. A targeted analysis of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is to define whether it is effective enough to reduce cigarette consumption and the smoking rate among Americans. The purpose of the research is to answer the question about the performance of the TCA in the sphere of smoking. This topic is highly significant because, in addition to reducing deaths, it is possible to save health care costs with the help of effective tobacco regulations. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of illness, disability, and death in the United States. Therefore, the purpose of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is to reduce the number of people smoking and decrease the number of deaths caused by smoking.

The Problem of Smoking

Cigarettes are one of the most dangerous objects in history. They kill more than 6 million people annually, and the number is constantly growing (Proctor, 2013). In the last century, smoking killed about 100 million people, and if the situation does not change, a billion can die in the XXI century (Proctor, 2013). Cigarettes are considered defective, as they were designed to produce inhaled air. Until the XIX century, tobacco smoke was not inhaled because it was very alkaline and harsh (Proctor, 2013). When scientists inventefluue a cure, the smoke became inhalable. It is a method, by which a tobacco leaf is heated during fermentation, keeping the sugars naturally present in a raw leaf (Proctor, 2013). During the process of burning, sugars produce acids that lower the pH of smoke and make it more inhalable and less tough (Proctor, 2013). Nevertheless, it makes the process of smoking even more dangerous as it allows smoke to penetrate deep into the lungs. The current epidemic of lung cancer in the world is associated with the usage of low pH flue-cured tobacco (Proctor, 2013). Thus, cigarette production leads to increased medical costs from lung cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.

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Another adverse factor of cigarettes is connected with their impact on the environment. The production of cigarettes consumes limited resources in growing, curing, flavoring, rolling, transporting, packaging, and advertising (Proctor, 2013). It causes emissions of greenhouse gases, especially from fossil fuels used for transportation (Proctor, 2013). There are frequent fires from cigarette butts that also hurt the environment. In order not to lose earnings, cigarette manufacturers provide considerable institutional support and funding for global climate change deniers (Proctor, 2013). In such a way, in addition to health, cigarettes negatively affect the atmosphere. These negative factors suggest that effective tobacco regulations are extremely necessary.

Existing Policy

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act has become one of the attempts to reduce the level of smoking in the United States. Adopted in 2009, it gave the US Food and Drug Administration the legal authority for the regulation of cigarettes, therefore beginning a new front in the tobacco war (Levy, Norton & Smith, 2018). The central position of the policy called for graphic warning labels on packs of cigarettes. The FDA suggested regulations for the implementation of this requirement in 2010 (Levy et al., 2018). Recently, the FDA has also proposed extending its regulatory authority to other tobacco products including electronic cigarettes (Levy et al., 2018). In this act, the FDA banned the usage of fruit flavors in cigarettes, their free samples, the use of unreasonable health claims in advertising and on packs of cigarettes, and the sale of products to minors (American Cancer Society, 2017). The FDA has authority over tobacco in rolls, smokeless tobacco, and cigarettes. Moreover, in 2016, the Administration decided to expand its control to other types of tobacco products including pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars, gels, and dissolvable (American Cancer Society, 2017). In addition, the TCA retains local and state authority to realize efficient strategies for tobacco control, for example, increase in tobacco taxes, no-tobacco policies, and further limitations on tobacco sales to protect public health (American Cancer Society, 2017). In general, the Act is a policy that has both strengths and shortcomings.

Strengths and Shortcomings

The most significant advantage is direct tobacco control. It consists of the improvement of health for smokers. The same is true for non-smokers who are susceptible to the negative effects of passive smoking. As noted above, around 480,000 Americans die every year from illnesses caused by cigarettes; more than 8 million suffer from serious illnesses because of smoking (Deyton, 2011). About 20% of American high school students smoke (Deyton, 2011). However, in the past, these figures were even higher. One of the major benefits of the TCA is that it has required implementing certain changes in tobacco products, such as removing harmful ingredients. This fact does not make cigarettes safe but still, the proportion of unhealthy components has reduced. Nevertheless, according to economists, there are great shortcomings in this policy. The tobacco industry opposes the control policy arguing that it creates havoc in tax revenues, workplaces, and the economy as a whole. The economic activity associated with the production and consumption of tobacco provides an economic incentive. What is more, it also generates great tax revenues for the government. Thus, the TCA includes many shortcomings associated with economic activity.


This policy affects several stakeholders. Firstly, people are the main associated persons. Moreover, these are both smokers and non-smokers. Whereas smokers are affected directly, non-smokers are affected indirectly because they also suffer from cigarette smoke and tobacco advertising. Secondly, the policy affects cigarette manufacturers. The FDA has banned the distribution of free samples of cigarettes; it also regulates the requirements for the tobacco industry registration, which apply to cigarette manufacturers. The TCA affects importers because the FDA controls imports of cigarettes ensuring that they correspond with the guidelines. There are also many government and nongovernment institutions affected by the policy, for example, State Health departments.

Alternative Tobacco Policy

The current paper presents a comparison of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act with the tobacco policy in the United Kingdom. The UK is leading the tobacco control scale that determined the introduction of a multipurpose set of regulating measures. Changes in the policy include legislation prohibition of tobacco advertising and smoking in almost all public places, the introduction of simple packaging for tobacco products, increasing the minimum age for selling cigarettes to 18, a high level of taxation designed to reduce the demand for smoking, combined with numerous customs coercion, banning smoking in private cars with children, transition to clear health education, and higher costs of smoking cessation services. In 2017, England introduced a tobacco control plan. It includes four ambitions for the control of tobacco (Barber, 2017). The first purpose of the plan is to reduce smoking during pregnancy (Barber, 2017). The second ambition is to decrease the prevalence of smoking among adults from 15.5% to 12% and young people from 8 to 3% by the end of 2022 (Barber, 2017). Another ambition is to help people quit smoking with the help of innovative technologies maximizing the availability of safer alternatives, for example, electronic cigarettes (Barber, 2017). The last goal is to refine data collection for smoking and mental health. Such elements of the plan as the recommendations for electronic cigarettes and the focus on mental health were particularly supported.

In addition to this plan, several tobacco policies in the United Kingdom deserve attention. For instance, the Standardized Packaging of Tobacco Regulations was introduced in 2016 (Barber, 2017). This policy implemented new regulations on the packaging of tobacco products. It established various requirements for packs of cigarettes (Barber, 2017). Thus, the text must be in a grey Helvetica typeface with a specified maximum size, and the outer side of the packs must be brown with a matte finish. Packs must be made of soft or cardboard material in a cubic shape containing 20 cigarettes (Barber, 2017). The names of brands must appear only once on the bottom, front, and top surfaces of packs. It must contain 30 grams of tobacco (Barber, 2017). The regulations forbid using additional materials that are not an integral part of the permitted packaging.

Another tobacco policy in the United Kingdom concerns the regulation of tobacco products. The European Union Tobacco Directive came into force in 2016 (Barber, 2017). It has introduced several important provisions for tobacco products regulation. According to it, “slim” packs are prohibited (Barber, 2017). 65% of the back and front surfaces of the packs of cigarettes should contain warnings in the form of a picture and text while 50% of the package sides should also contain health warnings (Barber, 2017). In addition, misleading features and advertising including references to flavorings or taste are prohibited (Barber, 2017). In such a way, both these policies provide very detailed information on how the packs of cigarettes should look. They ban manufacturing bright packs of cigarettes that attract attention. Besides, pictures and text warnings about the dangerous consequences of cigarettes can also warn smokers. The potential impact of these policies on healthcare is the reduction in smoking people and the number of deaths caused by smoking. With the help of these regulations, it is possible to solve the problem of smoking but there is still a need for further policies.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

The US Food and Drug Administration has considerable authority over the sale and manufacturing of tobacco products in connection with the adoption of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. With the admission of this policy, the FDA established national standards that introduce proper regulatory control over the tobacco industry and govern the manufacture, as well as the public disclosure, identification, and several ingredients used in tobacco products (American Cancer Society, 2017). As follows from this act, it is necessary to establish coercive measures when products, registration of the tobacco industry, and marketing information do not comply with the law (American Cancer Society, 2017). The policy applied new public health standards for the regulation of tobacco products, such as the preliminary analysis of new goods because they can be ineffective and unsafe (American Cancer Society, 2017). The main aim of these regulations is to reduce the number of smoking people in the country, especially minors, and diseases caused by smoking.

As well as the policies in the United Kingdom, the possible impact of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act on healthcare is the decrease in deaths that could have been prevented. After studying the regulations in the United Kingdom and the United States, we caconcludeon that they are both effective in the tobacco war. The authorities should consider such ideas as the establishment of a special body for tobacco regulation as the main criteria that define what policy is better. The TCA implies the creation of the Center of Tobacco Products, and it is the first new FDA center in several decades (GPO, 2009). The center’s purpose is to develop the state educational, regulatory, and scientific infrastructure that is necessary to prevent the onset of tobacco use, implement and track the goals for the reduction of tobacco-connected outbreaks, and encourage Americans to quit smoking. The creation of this center makes the TCA a better alternative. The appearance of the pack of cigarettes is a trade-off between options, as the UK policies provide a more detailed description of the pack.


There is no better alternative for the TCAbecauset there are no other goopolicieses in the field that can replace the current ones. The FDA seeks to educate people about the dangers of tobacco products. The main purpose of the policy is to decrease the attractiveness of cigarettes. It aims to reduce the impact of tobacco on public health by decreasing the harm of tobacco products, encouraging smokers to quit, and preventing people from starting smoking. The TCA will be evaluated by statistics on the reduction of smoking in people in the country and the number of deaths caused by smoking. The FDA should occupy the most important role in tobacco regulation in the United States. It should also use support and resources from other partnersб and foreign governments are one of them. It is necessary to unite with the authorities of other countries to regulate and oversee export and import. Besides, the FDA should constantly expand its authority to implement new instruments in tobacco regulation. Even though the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is a good policy that has a great number of strengths, there are still certain barriers, the most important of which is economic. As noted above, the tobacco industry opposes the control policy and explains it by the fact that the regulations create havoc in workplaces, tax revenues, anthe d economy of the United States. In 2009, several tobacco companies even filed a lawsuit in the federal court challenging several provisions of the act (ChangeLab Solutions, n.d.). They stated that the TCA violates due process rights takes property without paying compensation and violates the right to free speech (ChangeLab Solutions, n.d.). In such a way, the tobacco industry serves as the main obstacle to the implementation of the policy.


After the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act came into force in 2009, the FDA became the most important federal regulatory authority for the distribution, marketing, and production of tobacco goods. It provided the Administration with direct control over cigarette tobacco, cigarettes, smokeless and roll-your-own tobacco. We established that the TCA is forceful in tobacco control and regulation because the number of people smoking in the country has decreased, and it can be an indicator of its effectiveness. However, the fact that there is no alternative policy regulating tobacco in the United States limited the analysis of the TCA. The research can be importanforin educational purposes, as it provides valid data on the negative impact of cigarettes on human health and the environment. Besides, the research can be useful for policy-making purposes and the d introduction of alternative regulations.


Tobacco use is one of the most frequent preventable causes of death in the United States. Annually, more than 480,000 Americans die because of the effect of tobacco. Non-smokers also suffer from the inhalation of harmful tobacco smoke. To reduce the negative impact of tobacco, the government initiated the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. It gave authority to the FDA on the regulation of tobacco products. The analysis of the policy indicates that it satisfies the goals of the FDinon reducing the number of people smoking in the United States. The policy has both strengths and limitations but it is the only agreed procedure in the country. Since the TCA came into force, significant improvements in the sphere of tobacco regulation are already noticeableToto analyze the problem of tobacco control better ie future research, we need to raise the question of the necessity to increase the age, from which a person can buy cigarettes.

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