FDA clears first new tobacco products under federal pathway

The Food and Drug Administration has cleared the first new tobacco products for the U.S. market, under a system authorized more than 5 years ago.

The agency says it cleared the sale of eight snus, or teabag-like pouches of loose tobacco, from Swedish Match. Snus are popular in Scandinavian countries and are a growing part of the U.S. smokeless tobacco market.

The milestone, while significant, is somewhat technical. Snus are already available in the U.S. from a number of companies, including Swedish Match.

But regulators say the revamped snus from Swedish Match are the first to go through FDA's formal review pathway.

Under a 2009 law, the FDA was given authority to evaluate tobacco products for their health risks and clear ones that don't pose new or significant risks.

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