Friday, April 3, 2009

House Votes to Give FDA Power Over Tobacco

The House has passed what is being called a landmark bill that would, for the first time, give the federal government sweeping authority over tobacco. Under the measure, the FDA would have the power to limit the nicotine in cigarettes, to regulate ads and to require warnings to appear in larger print. The measure now goes to the Senate.

USA Today calls the vote a "historic move" that may give "the Food and Drug Administration broad new powers to regulate tobacco, the nation's number one cause of preventable death. Medical associations celebrated the 298-112 vote as a victory for public health, noting that tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans a year."

The Wall Street Journal noted "the bill doesn't give the FDA power to ban existing tobacco products but gives the agency power to restrict sales on safety grounds. The FDA also would be able to stop companies from touting their brands as 'low tar' and 'mild' and restrict advertising to plain black-and-white ads. Health advocates say advertising restrictions are a key tool to keeping tobacco products away from children and young adults."

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