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June 1, 1994

FDA Trying to Make Case for Tobacco Regulation

JAMA. 1994;271(21):1648. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510450020009

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EVEN AS relaxing the enforcement of laws against the makers, sellers, buyers, and users of substances known to be addictive has gained a tentative hold on the thinking of some government officials, others are working hard to discover whether the free ride long enjoyed by what some say is the most addictive of all so-called recreational substances ought to be reined in.

In what appears to be an all-out push to make up for some 20 years of lost time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assigned "a very high priority," according to its chief, to learning enough about nicotine to decide whether it should be regulated through legislation as a drug.

David Kessler, MD, the agency's director, says there has been a shift in thinking since the 1970s, when the FDA last considered what, if anything, to do about nicotine. At that time, even though using tobacco was

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