Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, will retire next April.
According to a Washington Post report, Zeller will retire in April 2022. His tenure as director of the Center for Tobacco Products began in March 2013 after taking over Dr. Lawrence Deyton.
Previously, Zeller worked at the FDA from 1993 to 2000, then went to work for the American Legacy Foundation and Pliney Associates, focusing on tobacco regulation in both roles. In 2009, Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that created the Center for Tobacco Products, marking a major change in the way tobacco products were regulated in the United States. established by the two acts of Congress as well as court rulings and legal regulations.
Once established, the Tobacco Products Center centralized the government’s approach to tobacco regulation and also placed it under the direction of the executive, no doubt facilitating the introduction of major tobacco regulations. In 2016, the FDA promulgated the Deeming Regulations, a set of rules that for the first time regulate products like cigars, pipe tobacco, and e-cigarettes in any meaningful way at the federal level. Zeller’s legacy will be defined both by the passing of presumption regulations, as well as by the proliferation of e-cigarettes and vaping products.
The FDA has not released a public statement regarding Zeller’s retirement, although the Washington Post report mentions an internal letter to staff from Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the FDA, praising the Zeller’s work.
Zeller’s retirement isn’t the only change coming for the FDA. Dr Robert Califf is awaiting confirmation from the Senate which will make him the permanent commissioner of the FDA.
Image presented via the FDA Center for Tobacco Products