Clinicians can share with their smoking patients some cautionary words from U.S. health agencies regarding tobacco practices that many people have adopted in an attempt to make the habit safer.

In late September, the FDA launched a campaign reiterating the health risks posed by tobacco products formerly identified as “light,” “low,” and “mild.” The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act made it illegal for tobacco companies to use these adjectives as of June 2010.

“There’s no such thing as a safe cigarette,” asserts the FDA in the new campaign piece that the agency encourages clinicians to share with their patients.

In other tobacco related news, in early September the FDA issued warning letters to five electronic cigarette distributors for various violations, including unsubstantiated claims. In a separate letter to the Electronic Cigarette Association, the agency announced that it intends to regulate electronic cigarette and related products “in a manner consistent with its mission of protecting the public health.” 

That same month, the American Heart Association published a policy statement declaring that smokeless tobacco products should not be used as an alternative to cigarettes or for smoking cessation because they pose health hazards, a risk for addiction, and a risk for a return to smoking.