Communicating Tobacco Product Information to the Public

Food and Drug Law Journal, Vol. 72, No. 3, 2017

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 409

21 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2017

See all articles by Micah L. Berman

Micah L. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

M. Justin Byron

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Natalie Hemmerich

Ohio State University (OSU)

Eric Lindblom

O'Neill Inst. for National & Global Health Law - Georgetown Law

Allison Lazard

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Media and Journalism

Ellen Peters

Ohio State University - Psychology Department; Decision Research; University of Oregon

Noel T. T. Brewer

Gillings School of Global Public Health

Date Written: August 30, 2017

Abstract

The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) requires tobacco companies to disclose information about the harmful chemicals in their products to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The law requires FDA, in turn, to communicate this information to the public “in a format that is understandable and not misleading to a lay person.” But how should FDA comply with this requirement? What does it mean for information about complex chemicals to be “understandable and not misleading to a lay person”? These questions are not easy ones to answer. Disclosures about the amount of harmful chemicals (constituents) in different tobacco products may help to inform consumers, but may also conversely prompt consumers to reach incorrect or unsupported conclusions about products’ relative health risks.

This paper first analyzes FDA’s legal obligation to publish tobacco constituent information so that it is “understandable and not misleading to a layperson.” Second, it discusses how that legal analysis has guided scientific research examining how members of the public interpret messages regarding tobacco constituents. Lastly, this paper concludes with policy recommendations for FDA as it considers how to comply with the law’s constituent disclosure requirement while still furthering its overall objective of promoting public health.

Keywords: FDA, Tobacco, Public Health

JEL Classification: K23, K32

Suggested Citation

Berman, Micah and Byron, M. Justin and Hemmerich, Natalie and Lindblom, Eric and Lazard, Allison and Peters, Ellen and Brewer, Noel T., Communicating Tobacco Product Information to the Public (August 30, 2017). Food and Drug Law Journal, Vol. 72, No. 3, 2017; Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 409. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3029481

Micah Berman (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

M. Justin Byron

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Natalie Hemmerich

Ohio State University (OSU)

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Eric Lindblom

O'Neill Inst. for National & Global Health Law - Georgetown Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Allison Lazard

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Media and Journalism

Carroll Hall
Campus Box 3365
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3365
United States

Ellen Peters

Ohio State University - Psychology Department ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Decision Research ( email )

1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.decisionresearch.org

University of Oregon ( email )

1280 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

Noel T. Brewer

Gillings School of Global Public Health ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
(919) 966-3282 (Phone)
(919) 966-2921 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.unc.edu/~ntbrewer/publications.html

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
43
Abstract Views
247
PlumX Metrics