Should the FDA Oversee Big Tobacco?
That move got one step closer Thursday when the House of Representatives passed legislation 298-112 giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) powers to regulate tobacco.
The House version of the legislation would establish an office, financed by fees on the tobacco industry, that could restrict the many harmful chemicals that are put into cigarettes including nicotine and possibly menthol.
Ammonia, Cadmium, Benzene and fungicides, among other chemicals are all added to tobacco products.
Under the House bill, the FDA would be able to reject new tobacco products and would monitor adverting and warning labels. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) says it’s taken more than a decade to get this far.
“We’ve come to what I hope will be an historic occasion, and that is finally doing something about the harm that tobacco does to thousands and thousands of Americans who die each year, and stopping the attempt to get out children to smoke,” he tells the New York Times.
The Senate may not offer such sweeping an approval.
Sen. Edward Kennedy will introduce a version of the House bill this month and plans to support speedy passage.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina has threatened a filibuster. He’s introduced an alternative bill that promotes “reduced risk” tobacco products. North Carolina has thousands of high-paying jobs in the tobacco industry.
The White House supports the House bill. #