FDA and NIH create Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science

The Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute for Health have teamed up to grant $53 million to fund tobacco-related research. The funding is directed to create the first-of-its kind Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, or TCORS. The TCORS program will bring in investigators from around the country to develop science-based research for the risks associated with tobacco use. The research conducted by the TCORS program will help with understanding the public health issues related to tobacco regulated products. “For the first time, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the federal government, through the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), is able to bring science-based regulation to the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products,” reported by FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The FDA is committed to a science-based approach that addresses the complex public health issues raised by tobacco product regulation.” This is a major step in the fight for tobacco regulation, with ground-breaking research funded by the federal government.

The program will be comprised of groups of scientists in epidemiology, behavioral science, biology, medicine, economics, chemistry, toxicology, addictions, public health, communications, and marketing under TCORS. The program is comprised of seven different research areas that will focus on specific aspects of research in the following: diversity of tobacco products, reducing addiction, reducing toxicity and carcinogenicity, adverse health consequences, communications, marketing of tobacco products, and economics and policies. A few of the recipients for funding include two members of California universities including: Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D, UCSF and Mary Ann Pentz, Ph.D and Jonathan Samet, Ph.D, USC. The various scientists and programs under TCORS will receive a combined $53 million in the first fiscal year of 2013, with the possibility of receiving more than $273 million in the next 5 years.

This will allow science-based research to play a key part in decisions made in regulating tobacco policy, and hopefully will create more widespread awareness for the need of better tobacco control. The research being conducted will authorize scientists to focus on a wide variety of issues, and gather information in further detail that has not yet been fully developed. I believe as the research progresses, further findings will help create more incentives for state and local municipalities to adhere to more stringent tobacco policies.

-Isaiah Ford


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