Mitch Zeller, the head of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, will retire next April.

According to a report from The Washington Post, Zeller will retire in April 2022. His tenure as director for Center for Tobacco Products began in March 2013 after he took over Dr. Lawrence Deyton.

Previously, Zeller worked at FDA from 1993-2000 and then went to work 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 which established the Center for Tobacco Products, marking a major shift in how tobacco products were regulated in the U.S. Prior to its establishment, a variety of government agencies enforced tobacco policy, which was established through both acts of Congress as well as court rulings and legal settlements.

Once established, the Center for Tobacco Products centralized the government’s approach to tobacco regulation and also placed it under the executive branch, undoubtedly making it easier for major tobacco regulations to be introduced. In 2016, FDA enacted the Deeming Regulations, a set of rules that regulated products like cigars, pipe tobacco and e-cigarettes for the first time in a meaningful way at the federal level. Zeller’s legacy will be defined by both the passing of the deeming regulations, as well as the proliferation of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

FDA has not issued a public statement regarding Zeller’s retirement, though The Washington Post report mentioned an internal letter to staff from Janet Woodcock, FDA’s acting commissioner, which praised Zeller’s work.

Zeller’s retirement is hardly the only change coming to FDA. Dr. Robert Califf is awaiting Senate confirmation that will make him the permanent FDA commissioner.

Featured image via FDA Center for Tobacco Products

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.