The FDA has named Dr Larry Deyton, who led the VA smoking cessation effort, to implement the new authority given the FDA to regulate tobacco. Success in this effort will do more to improve the health of millions of Americans while at the same time reducing costs by millions of dollars as well.
It remains to be seen if Dr. Deyton can resist the inevitable pressure cooker politics of Washington DC to actually get something done. If his mission gets all caught up in the “smokeless is healthier” argument put forth by the tobacco companies, you can kiss this opportunity good-bye!
On the other hand, if significant dollars can be channeled into effective stop-smoking programs and at the same time a gradual reduction in cigarette nicotine content can be implemented, people who have been addicted to nicotine for years, even decades have a chance to quit, saving money directly by not needing to purchase tobacco products and indirectly through reduced out-of-pocket medical costs. At the same time they may improve their quality of life.
This single effort, if successful, would do more to “reform” U S Healthcare than all 535 members of Congress and their thousands of staffers combined!