Imperfections aside, smoking regulation bill long overdue, tobacco control expert says

June 8, 2009

( -- After nearly a decade of waiting, the U.S. Senate is expected Monday to pass a bill giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco, and despite controversies over the involvement of the tobacco industry in authoring the bill, it will be a great tool in advancing anti-smoking efforts in the country, a Georgia State University tobacco control expert said.

“The bill, while imperfect, is long overdue and much needed,” said Michael Eriksen, director of Georgia State’s Institute of Public Health and former head of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Tobacco is probably the only consumer product ingested by people that is not regulated by the FDA.”

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 has 56 sponsors, and despite objections from Senators in tobacco-producing states — who have threatened a filibuster — the bill will move on from the Senate to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The Obama Administration has indicated that the president will sign the legislation.

The bill is a result of more than a decade of litigation between the tobacco industry and government over the FDA’s powers to regulate a dangerous product. In the 1990s, the FDA tried to regulate tobacco but the companies sued, claiming that the FDA did not have the authority to do so. The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that Congress would have to provide the authority to regulate tobacco.

Besides granting the FDA authority to regulate tobacco, warning labels on packages would be much larger; cigarettes could no longer be labeled as “light” or “low-tar”; and cigarettes could no longer have a “characterizing” flavor other than menthol. The new tobacco division of the FDA would be funded by fees from the tobacco companies.

The bill does present some challenges, Eriksen said. For example, the FDA currently lacks regulatory expertise, he said.

“They really don't have the expertise in-house now, which has been lost over the last 15 years due to litigation, and because it's taken Congress nine years to act,” he said. “The FDA will have to quickly ramp up efforts to gain this expertise.”

Source: Georgia State University (news : web)

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1 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2009
"FDA currently lacks regulatory tobacco expertise"

And yet they want to regulate it anyway, adding extra expense to an all ready over taxed commodity.

Good job Georgia State... yeah...
1 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2009
They'll probably fail to make a distinction between cigarettes on one hand and cigars and pipe tobacco on the other. Prediction: ham-handed regs that make Grandpa's cherry-flavored pipe-tobacco illegal, and ridiculous warning labels on individual cigars.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2009
This just in: New cigar lable design!

()OMG Smoking this will kill you!)

Will be branded on the side of each cigar. The ink used to print it on the cigar will actually be more harmful to inhale than the cigar itself AND it has the added bonus of raising the price another $.50 per cigar.

Aren't we lucky? ROFL
3 / 5 (2) Jun 09, 2009
Smokers- your foul worthless addiction will soon be regulated like other drugs, by prescription. It will be dispensed like methadone and cost as much. Tobacco is the only drug that has no effect at all other than to relieve it's own withdrawal symptoms- and make everybody sick.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 09, 2009
@otto1923 - First of all, Tobacco isn't a drug. It's a plant. Secondly, I'm not complaining about regulation. If the product had been properly regulated way back when, we probably wouldn't have had the tobacco industry adding all sorts of nasty chemicals to make their product more harmful and addictive.

If you do not smoke, good for you. I do. I don't go around thumping my chest with a holier than thou attitude saying you should start smoking, please check the self perceived moral high ground you seem to have found, at the door.
3 / 5 (2) Jun 09, 2009
Smoker, you smell. Your sickness costs me money. Your children are born brain damaged and die in their cribs. Your disease makes everyone suffer. No good only bad.
3 / 5 (2) Jun 09, 2009
1 unborn brother- miscarriage
1 mother- cancer
1 stepmother- heart disease
1 aunt- poor circulation
1 uncle- heart attack
I could never feel close to my mother because she stank.
You think it's ok because you're told it is, because your addiction tells you it is. But it is not. Your disease makes you weak and blind.
not rated yet Jun 10, 2009
Thanks Otto... I needed a laugh
not rated yet Jun 13, 2009
Can you laugh without coughing?

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