Senate passes bill greatly increasing FDA power over tobacco products

June 11, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The U.S. Senate has just voted 79-17 in favor, to give regulators new power to limit nicotine in cigarettes, to drastically curtail ads that glorify tobacco and to ban light flavored products aimed at spreading the habit to young people.

the bill will now go back to the House to, which in April passed a similar but not identical version. House acceptance of the Senate bill to be voted on Friday, would send it directly to Obama, who has spoken of his own struggle to quit smoking, and is eager to sign the legislation.

The legislation, is one of the most dramatic anti-smoking initiatives since the surgeon general’s 1964 landmark report linking smoking to lung cancer. It would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the content, marketing and advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products to entice new customers and the 45 million U.S. adults who are already smokers:

  • Immediately, tobacco makers can no longer make claims that their products pose fewer health risks.
  • Within three months, candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes are banned, and the FDA can extend that ban to cigars and moist snuff, where such flavorings are more common. Menthol is exempt.
  • Within nine months, the FDA must publish marketing restrictions that will take effect six months later.
  • Within 12 months, new warning labels will be placed on smokeless tobacco products.
  • Within 15 months, tobacco companies must disclose the ingredients in their products.
  • Within two years, the FDA must issue rules on graphic warnings for cigarettes that will cover half the pack. The labels will take effect 15 months later.

Bill supporters said the measure would not only cut deaths but reduce the $100 billion in annual health care costs linked to tobacco. Cigarette smoking kills about 400,000 people in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The F.D.A. has previously tried on its own to regulate tobacco, most recently in 1996 when it asserted that cigarettes were medical devices and nicotine a drug. Philip Morris and other tobacco companies sued, and the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote that the F.D.A. lacked specific Congressional authority.

Since then, fierce opposition by the industry and tobacco-state lawmakers had prevented passage, along with veto threats by the George W. Bush White House. Ironically the nation’s biggest tobacco company Philip Morris supports the measure, though rivals suggested that was because it could lock in it’s share of the market.

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2 Responses to “Senate passes bill greatly increasing FDA power over tobacco products”

  1. Senate passes bill greatly increasing FDA power over tobacco products - Chattahbox.com — Stop Smoking on June 11th, 2009 8:49 pm

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  2. Senate passes bill greatly increasing FDA power over tobacco products « AddingInfo.com on June 11th, 2009 11:51 pm

    […] bill will now go back to the House … Read Full Post: Senate passes bill greatly increasing FDA power over tobacco products Adding Related Info:Senate set to pass landmark tobacco bill – The Washington TimesSenate to vote […]

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