Zeller to Speak at NATO Show

New FDA Center for Tobacco Products director to address tobacco retailer group

Published in CSP Daily News

Mitchell Zeller

MINNEAPOLIS -- The first industry group the line him up as a speaker, NATO has announced that Mitchell Zeller, the new director of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products, will address its 12th Anniversary & Trade Show in Las Vegas, April 22-24.

As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash Zeller assumed the role of CTP director on March 4 following the resignation of Dr. Lawrence Deyton announced on Feb. 21.

Zeller has more than 30 years of FDA-related experience, including six years as a public interest attorney working on food issues, five years as a congressional counsel working on food and drug issues and seven years as a senior FDA official. While working at the FDA, Zeller oversaw the agency's original jurisdiction of tobacco products in the 1990s and was the director of the FDA's Office of Tobacco Programs.

Margaret A. Hamburg, the FDA's commissioner of food and drugs, called Zeller's hiring a "game-changer" for the agency, commending Zeller for his career commitment to understanding tobacco at all levels.

"Mr. Zeller is stepping into the position at a time where there are a lot of industry questions ranging from Agency clarification on the future of menthol cigarettes, to how the agency will treat the 'e-cig' and regulation on other noncigarette and smokeless tobacco products, to ruling on the many SE and NTP applications before it from tobacco companies," NATO president Andy Kerstein said. "We are fortunate to have the opportunity to be the first industry association to hear directly from Mr. Zeller."

Zeller, along with Ann Simoneau, the FDA's director of compliance and enforcement, will join Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, and Mary Szarmach, vice president of marketing for Smoker Friendly, in a moderated discussion to clarify existing FDA tobacco regulations, explain proposed regulations and provide feedback on the agency's compliance inspection program and other retail-related tobacco rules.

Industry veteran Jim Bursch, senior vice president and group publisher of CSP magazine, will serve as moderator.

To view the entire schedule of events, including NATO Show 2013 keynote address by Dick Morris, visit www.NATOShow.com.

NATO is the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, a national retail trade association that focuses exclusively on local, state and federal tobacco legislative issues and leads the fight for all tobacco interests in the United States.