CALL IT "CIGARETTE" or "drug delivery device," Premier, the so-called smokeless cigarette, is the newest way to get hooked on nicotine. Manufactured and now being test-marketed by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, its advent has galvanized health-oriented organizations into efforts to keep the product off the market.
Last April, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Coalition on Smoking OR Health, in separate briefs, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assert jurisdiction over the product by calling it a drug or a device. The move was backed by government health officials including Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, Charles R. Schuster, PhD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and former National Cancer Institute director Vincent T. DeVita, MD.
But the prospect of taking on yet another regulatory task was viewed with dismay by many in the FDA. The agency is already hard pressed by attempts