A Food and Drug Administration panel is planning to review smokeless tobacco maker Swedish Match's request to certify its General-branded pouches of tobacco as less harmful than cigarettes.
The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee has scheduled a two-day meeting beginning April 9 to discuss the request that the agency approve the snus (pronounced "snoose") products as "modified risk."
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Snus are teabag-like pouches that users stick between their cheek and gum. They are popular in Scandinavian countries.
A 2009 law gives the FDA authority to evaluate tobacco products for their health risks and approve ones that could be marketed as safer than others.
Many panels advise the FDA on scientific issues. The agency doesn't have to follow their recommendations but usually does.
Swedish Match's North American headquarters is in Richmond, Virginia.