Government Matters: Mitchell Zeller Tags: 2022 Sammies, Government Matters Series Back to All Videos In 2009, Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate the marketing of tobacco products. Since then, the adult smoking rate has dropped from over 20% to under 13%. Many of those changes were guided by Mitchell Zeller, former director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA and finalist for a Service to America Medal. Zeller said that while smoking rates are historically low, there is more work to be done to reduce the “unacceptable number” of Americans who smoke – over 30 million.The country has made “tremendous progress” in preventing kids from smoking cigarettes but not as much with cigars, he told Government Matters.Zeller said he was happy to see the Biden administration support removing menthol from cigarettes. He said a major challenge for the administration will be to reduce allowable levels of nicotine in combustible tobacco products.