Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happening now: Senate voting on FDA regulation of tobacco

The U.S. Senate will vote this afternoon on legislation which would grant the government control over the production and marketing of tobacco products. It's legislation many health advocates have waited 20 years for.

"It is a lifesaving act for the millions of children who will be spared a lifetime addiction and premature death," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass said in a statement as quoted by the AP.

For more information, including the text of the bill, vote totals, and bill progress, check out's page on the bill.

If passed as written, the bill would have several key components:

  • Grant the FDA regulatory power over tobacco products
  • Ban the use of misleading expressions including "light" and "mild" from tobacco advertising
  • Compel tobacco companies to produce detailed lists of ingredients
With regulatory power, the FDA would have the power to ban candied or flavored tobacco products and restrict tobacco marketing. FDA regulation could also mean less tobacco ads in publications with teen readership, stronger warning labels, and pre-market approval of new tobacco products.

Health advocates have predicted that the legislation will reduce youth and adult smoking, and cut into the $100 billion in annual tobacco-related health care costs.

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