New center launched with experience at helm

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced a launch of its new Center for Tobacco Products, aimed at reducing tobacco-related deaths.

The new center, located in Maryland, will oversee the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed by President Obama in June. Under the law, the FDA’s responsibilities include setting performance standards, reviewing premarket applications for new and modified-risk tobacco products, and establishing and enforcing advertising and promotion restrictions.

Dr. Lawrence Deyton, an expert on veterans’ and public-health issues, will serve as the agency’s first director.

Hired after a nationwide search, Deyton has worked as chief public health and environmental hazards officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Start-up administration costs for the center will be paid with $5 million from the 2009 fiscal federal budget. As determined by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, funding will then come from user fees paid by manufacturers and importers of tobacco products.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes an estimated 438,000 deaths — about one of every five deaths — each year. On average, adults who smoke cigarettes die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.

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