The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and FDA presented its FY 2018 Subcommittee bill . If passed this bill will provide the FDA over $2.7 billion in discretionary funding. Last year there was an effort to change to the predicate date amended into the House bill. This year, the Committee has included the predicate date change in the foundation of the bill. This is a important since our industry will not have to struggle to include it again
The new bill also has a provision that attempts to fix the a very real and concern in Congress about flavors. And how they are used by manufacturers. The Bill would require the FDA to engage in a regulatory process to address Flavored Tobacco. The regulation of flavors is very concerning to most. It may mean a dramatic reduction of available products.
There is no doubt that Republican and Democratic members alike have serious concerns about this topic. Not only was it was brought up at a unrelated confirmation hearing for Commissioner. This new language was inserted by GOP members who controlled the drafting process. It is important for our community to know that we must address these issues regardless of party affiliation.
It's tricky language in the bill. It does not say 'ban all flavors'. But it does require the FDA to begin a regulatory process on 'tobacco flavors' within 2 years of the bill reaching effective date and to complete the process within 3 years. We suspect that the bill most likely wouldn't pass or be signed until January, 2018. Perhaps even later than that. Which means FDA would have to start its regulatory process by mid 2019 and reach completion of the regulatory process by 01/01/2021.