FDA May Now Regulate "Safer Cigarettes" - Searcy Denney

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Laurie Briggs

FDA may get to regulate “safer cigarette”

» Written by // July 17, 2007 // ,


Congress is currently working on legislation which would grant the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate to the production of “safer” cigarettes. The bill would grant the FDA the power to oversee the production of cigarettes and require manufacturers to report the specific components of cigarettes and to seek permission from the FDA for changes to the current formula.

Congress is currently working on legislation which would grant the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate to the production of cigarettes. The bill would grant the FDA the power to oversee the production of cigarettes and require manufacturers to report the specific components of cigarettes and to seek permission from the FDA for changes to the current formula.

While almost everyone who knows anything about cigarettes acknowledges that creating a “safer” cigarette does almost nothing to eliminate the risks associated with smoking, advocates are hoping that some regulation is better than what currently is in place. The bill would allow the FDA to regulate the levels of tar, nicotine and other harmful components of tobacco products. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer.a

Smoking is directly responsible for the deaths of more than 400,000 people each year in the United States alone and accounts for nearly 20 percent of all deaths annually.

If enacted, the legislation would give the FDA the same authority over cigarettes and other tobacco products that the regulatory agency already has over countless other consumer products. It is an authority the Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the FDA does not have.

“If the FDA only prevented tobacco companies from manipulating their products to make it easier to start and harder to quit, it will make a major contribution to reducing the number of people who die,” said Matthew Myers, president of the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, a supporter of the legislation, which has faltered in previous Congresses.


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