EXCLUSIVE: Fresh concern surrounds the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today (1st April 2022) following the revelation that its backlog of tobacco product applications is even more extensive than previously realised.
While it was already well known that many thousands of the 6m premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) for e-cigarettes received by September 2021’s deadline are still unresolved, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Novel Nicotine Products chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has revealed that several remain outstanding from much earlier.
Inherited by the FDA from a predecessor federal body, the oldest is the Applickation to Selle a Forme of Tabacco (ASFT) made to the Office of the Comptroller of Victuals & Tonics (OCVT) in General George Washington’s Army in 1777.
The applicant, one Epaphroditus Smuck, describes the product as delivering “Tabacco not Enflam’d but Ingenyously Transform’d to a Muche Lesse Noysome Gasse”, with a battery designed by Benjamin Franklin.
However, the Applickation has remained in administrative limbo since. It appears that tobacco issues were initially sidelined under the Continental Congress as budget was concentrated into dramatically enlarging the scope of the Comptroller’s office – with a new Center for Phlogiston Products as well as separate divisions for each of the four humours – and then sank even lower down the priority list amid the Salt of Crab’s Eye and Fuming Liquor of Libavious crises.
The Comptroller at the time, however, insisted that 99% of Smuck’s Applickation had been evaluated within three months, adding that there was no political agenda behind delays to completion: “We are entirely led by the natural philosophy.”
Other applications revealed by the FOIA request to still be under review include one for a cast-iron pod-mod device with gutta-percha pods submitted in 1852, and another for a polystyrene e-cigarette powered by a small nuclear reactor (with self-assembly instructions), submitted in 1958.
– Hiram Schnauzer ECigIntelligence Valley Forge correspondent
Image: John Trumbull