Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Strong Congressional Support for FDA Authority over Tobacco Products!

In March 2000, the Supreme Court held that under current law, the FDA did not have the authority to regulate tobacco products. Therefore, it would be up to Congress to change the existing law and grant the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution and sale of tobacco products --- and that time has come.

Last week Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar became the 51st Senator to sign on to Senate Bill 625 that would grant the FDA regulatory power over tobacco products. With a majority of Senators on board, and the House having 181 sponsors for their identical bill H.R. 1108, it is quite apparent the time has come; Congress has the votes to pass this legislation now and make a historic impact on our nation's health.

While virtually every other consumer product is regulated, tobacco products continue to be exempt from the most basic oversight. Tobacco companies are not required to test additives for safety, prevent misleading or inaccurate health claims, inform consumers what is in their products, or take any other action to make their products less harmful or addictive.

By granting the FDA oversight to the production of tobacco, we would be better able to counter the nation's number one preventable cause of death. If granted authority, the FDA could crackdown on illegal tobacco sales to children. Also, it could place restrictions on advertising and marketing that target children.

With tobacco use killing more than 400,000 Americans and costing the nation more than $96 billion in health care bills each year, it is obvious this legislation is long over-due!

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