August 19, 2009 / 6:02 PM / 10 years ago

Ex-veterans' official to head FDA tobacco unit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former official at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco center, the agency said on Tuesday in launching the new unit.

Lawrence Deyton, who led public health programs at the veterans’ department as its chief public health and environmental hazards officer, helped boost efforts to curb smoking among military veterans, the FDA said.

Deyton, a George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences professor, also previously worked at the National Institutes of Health.

The FDA tobacco center, established by law in June, is charged with regulating cigarettes and other tobacco products and will oversee their manufacturing and marketing.

Makers include Altria Group Inc’s Philip Morris unit, Reynolds American Inc’s R.J. Reynolds’ Tobacco unit, Lorillard Inc’s Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Star Scientific Inc.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Gunna Dickson

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