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Azim Chowdhury is a regulatory and public policy attorney with a focus on vapor, nicotine and tobacco product regulation. He is a Partner in Keller and Heckman’s nationally-ranked food and drug law practice.

Mr. Chowdhury advises domestic and foreign corporations in matters of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and international regulatory compliance. In particular, he has developed expertise in tobacco and vapor product regulation relating to the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and spearheaded the Tobacco and E-Vapor practice at Keller and Heckman. Specifically, Mr. Chowdhury has experience representing tobacco, e-cigarette and e-liquid manufacturers, distributors, retailers, suppliers and trade associations in matters of FDA, state and global regulatory compliance. He also assists corporations in establishing clearances for food and drug additives in the U.S., Canada, and European Union, with an emphasis on indirect additives used in food-contact materials.

Mr. Chowdhury has authored and edited numerous articles and publications, including Tobacco Regulation and Compliance: An Essential Resource, FDA Regulation of Tobacco: A Comprehensive Guide – An FDLI Primer and Tobacco and Nicotine Delivery: Regulation and Compliance, 2nd Edition. He is a frequent contributor to the Food and Drug Law Institute's (FDLI) Update Magazine and has served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Food and Drug Law Journal.  In addition, he has been interviewed in the U.S. News and World Reports Best Lawyers Edition (2016) and was named one of “10 Names to Know in the Vape World” in the October 2015 issue of Vape Magazine. Mr. Chowdhury received the 2018 National Law Review Go-To Thought Leadership Award for his consistent coverage of the emerging issues surrounding vaping and e-cigarettes on Keller and Heckman’s law blog, The Continuum of Risk.  As an industry leader, Mr. Chowdhury frequently speaks at industry conferences and events.

Mr. Chowdhury also has an active pro bono practice through Keller and Heckman’s Pro Bono Program, and has been featured in the Baltimore Sun for successfully obtaining asylum in the United States for a family who fled their home country of El Salvador because of violence they faced from an international gang.

Prior to entering private practice, he served as a judicial law clerk on the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. Mr. Chowdhury received a B.A. and B.S. from Johns Hopkins University, a MBA from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, and a JD, cum laude, from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Education: Johns Hopkins University (B.A., B.S., 2003); University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business (M.B.A., 2006); University of Maryland School of Law (J.D., 2006, cum laude).

Admissions: District of Columbia; Maryland

On May 4, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiated a notice and comment rulemaking process to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and all characterizing flavors in cigars and cigarillos.[1] Recently, Health and Human Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes will be delayed indefinitely. This article explores the long history of

On December 18, 2023, Dr. Brian King, the Director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products announced the Center’s new five-year strategic plan which outlines the Center’s programmatic and workforce initiatives and includes five goals, ten outcomes, and several corresponding objectives.

The new strategic plan incorporates recommendations from the Reagan-Udall Foundation report published in December 2022.

In a long-anticipated decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against FDA on January 3, 2024, criticizing the Agency for its handling of Wages and White Lion Investments, LLC, d/b/a Triton Distribution and Vapetasia LLC (“Vapetasia”) (collectively, “Triton”) premarket tobacco product applications (“PMTAs”) for its non-tobacco flavored, open-system e-liquid products.

On August 29, 2023, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously ruled against FDA on the Agency’s review of Fontem LLC’s “unflavored” (i.e., tobacco-flavored) myblu electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products, vacating FDA’s marketing denial orders (MDOs) for these products. For Fontem’s non-tobacco flavored myblu ENDS

On November 2, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey (“NYTS”), a cross-sectional, school-based, self-administered, web-based survey of U.S. middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12) students. The NYTS has been conducted periodically during

A new study published this month in The Lancet’s eClinical Medicine – the largest electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) clinical trial in the U.S. to date – confirms the role of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation. Specifically, the new research supports that e-cigarettes can be a viable means of quitting or reducing more harmful combustible cigarette use for

Although e-cigarettes manufactured in China for export to overseas markets are not subject to pre-market approval in China, and are only required to comply with the regulations of the destination country, China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) still attaches great importance to the quality management of e-cigarettes for export. 

On July 18, 2023, STMA released

On August 9, 2023, Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia issued a final Memorandum Opinion in Cigar Association of America et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration et al., vacating the decision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to deem premium cigars subject

On July 24, 2023, Keller and Heckman Partners Eric Gotting and Azim Chowdhury, along with co-counsel, on behalf of members of the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) industry[i], filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in support of petitioners in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo[ii]

On June 22, 2023, FDA announced it had issued warning letters to 189 retailers for selling unauthorized flavored tobacco products manufactured by Elf Bar and Esco Bar brands. This enforcement action comes on the heels of earlier aggressive action by FDA in its issuance of more than 570 warning letters to firms for the manufacture