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Posted by on Jun 13, 2009 in Health, Politics | 9 comments

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

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The NYTimes’ story makes it sound like the legislation is some draconian new regualtion of the tobacco companies:

More than four decades after the surgeon general declared smoking a health hazard, the Senate on Thursday cleared the final hurdle to empowering federal officials to regulate cigarettes and other forms of tobacco for the first time.

The legislation, which the White House said President Obama would sign as soon as it reached his desk, will enable the Food and Drug Administration to impose potentially strict new controls on the making and marketing of products that eventually kill half their regular users. The House, which passed a similar bill in April, may vote on the Senate version as soon as Friday. […]

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the new law would reduce youth smoking by 11 percent and adult smoking by 2 percent over the next decade, in addition to reductions already achieved through other actions, like higher taxes and smoke-free indoor space laws.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, as it is called, stops short of empowering the F.D.A. to outlaw smoking or ban nicotine — strictures that even most antismoking advocates acknowledged were not politically feasible and might drive people addicted to nicotine into a criminal black market.

But the law would give the F.D.A. power to set standards that could reduce nicotine content and regulate chemicals in cigarette smoke. The law also bans most tobacco flavorings, which are considered a lure to first-time smokers. Menthol was deferred to later studies. Health advocates predict that F.D.A. standards could eventually reduce some of the 60 carcinogens and 4,000 toxins in cigarette smoke, or make it taste so bad it deters users.

Others see enough wiggle room in there for Phillip Morris to drive a truck full of Marlboros through:

“It is a dream come true for Philip Morris,” Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, told me. “First, they make it look like they are a reformed company which really cares about reducing the toll of cigarettes and protecting the public’s health; and second, they protect their domination of the market and make it impossible for potentially competitive products to enter the market.” Other tobacco companies have taken to calling the bill the “Marlboro Monopoly Act of 2009.”

It’s hard to fathom where Congress is finding the political cover necessary to pass an industry-sponsored love letter like this one. But it’s coming from Philip Morris’ partner in crafting the legislation: a nonprofit anti-smoking organization called Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

That from Paul Smalera’s MUST READ at The Big Money. I found Smalera’s article far more informative than the Times’.

The photo is one I took of cigarettes brought here by some exchange students from Spain. Europeans are known for their smoking, but that’s no longer true. Americans smoke more than Europeans. Even the Germany came around.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Don Quijote

    We have the best government money can buy.

  • This Newsy.com report offers a perspective from 24/7 Wall Street that these new FDA regulations may reduce the settlement money that big tobacco has been paying out for years. I just assumed this was another blow to the tobacco industry, but maybe not.

    http://www.newsy.com/videos/new_sheriff_in_town

  • DLS

    Actually, we just have to wait and see what will be done now that the FDA has regulatory authority. Will there be renewed cheap attacks on the tobacco industry? Will regulation end the current shakedown of that industry? And note that there are some interests in Congress that may want to continue to support the industry in order to maintain it as a cash revenue source. (I’m wondering if Chris Dodd has interests in this industry, as he and his wife do in others of note such as the finance industry and the health care industry, for example.)

  • jchem

    I rather enjoy the picture you placed in this post. However, there should be a third pack showing another message:

    Despite all this, your government will allow it so we can continually have a revenue stream. Please don’t stop if you have already started. Your continuing addiction and eventual death is helping us pay for all of our public health programs. If you quit now, small children will surely die because they cannot get the care that they need. By the way, we’re increasing the tax because too many of you are quitting and we need more money.

  • SteveK

    DLS said: “Will there be renewed cheap attacks on the tobacco industry?”

    DLS, Would you please site a few examples of “cheap attacks on the tobacco industry”… I’ve never heard the term before and it would be nice to know what you’re talking about.

  • Improvisor

    Hah! Jchem got it right…. The tax revenue is the road to most and all goverment legilation. It is the fuel for their less than responsible spending habits. Being a former smoker; I consider myself as an informed consumer and trust me nothing the government did made me quit…. It is the sick and tired of being sick and tired of cigarettes that made me quit. Nothing else…. It is all about the revenue….. It is the one area the govenment can arise taxes and revenue that people do not bitch because they know it is bad for them. It is the field of gold, that the goverment keeps going back to again and again, becasue they can….. When I was a kid a pack of cigarretes cost .45 a pack…. Now it is taxed so heavily that the actual cost of a pack of cigarretes is still no more than it was back in the day, but for every pack you buy at minimum $4.00 of that purchase go to the taxing authority…… Think about it….

  • until there are enough non-industry funded research studies that demonstrate that flavorings really do increase the likelihood that a child will begin smoking, that law will always demonstrate nothing more than the power of money in our government. just because that connection, which is a generalization, really, seems logical, doesn’t make it true.

  • Marlboro is one of the best brand of cigarette, well I can’t explain the wonderful feeling i experience when lighting a cigarrete

  • StevenTaylor

    The simple way to end the smoking problems is to get rid for good of cigarettes and tobacco products. a law should forbid all the selling of such products and penalty for breaking the law should be death by lethal injection This would surely decrease by at least 99% the smokers rate. I like to smoke cigars and as much as I would like to give up, I just can’t. I even tried it with a therapist, but no results.

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