FDA widening control over tobacco

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Expect action from the FDA this spring on e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products. (WPVI)

Expect action from the FDA this spring on e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products.

Mitch Zeller, the agency's tobacco chief, told Action News today that efforts are underway to place controls on e-cigarettes, hookah, and cigars - which are all unregulated now.

"All tobacco products pose some level of harm and it's just not right from a public health perspective to continue in a marketplace where it's buyer beware where there isn't a regulator standing between a company, its products, its claims and the consumer," says Zeller.

Zeller says cigarette use has been going down, but cigar use is rising among kids and adults.

Young people, especially, are increasingly using cigarillos.

As for adults, "The smoking rate 50 years ago was 43% nationally. it's 18% today, and while that's great progress, that still means basically, that one in 5 adults is smoking cigarettes," says Zeller.

And too many children get hooked on tobacco, "Today 3200 kids will experiment with a cigarette , and tomorrow, another 3200, and another, and another."

As part of its effort to lower those numbers, the FDA has just unveiled a new series in its continuing, and very graphic "The Real Cost" of smoking tobacco ad campaign.

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