Senate Panel OKs Bill To Let FDA Regulate Tobacco
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday voted 13-8 to pass a bill (S 625) that would allow FDA to regulate the sale, distribution and promotion of tobacco products, CQ Today reports (Lubbes, CQ Today, 8/1).
The legislation, sponsored by committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) would require FDA to:
- Regulate levels of tar, nicotine and other ingredients in tobacco products;
- Prohibit magazine and point-of-sale advertisements for tobacco products;
- Review new tobacco products before they enter the market;
- Establish national standards for the production of tobacco products;
- Require the disclosure of ingredients in tobacco products; and
- Require graphic warning labels on tobacco products similar to those used in Canada and other nations (California Healthline, 7/27).
Prior to passage of the legislation, the committee approved an amendment proposed by ranking member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) that would ban clove cigarettes (AP/Washington Times, 8/2).
Kennedy said he would continue to work with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on an amendment that would require FDA to test imported cigarettes and with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on an amendment that would allow the agency and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to share information.
In addition, Kennedy said he would continue to work with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on amendments that would address American Indian tribe and Internet sales of tobacco products (Edney, CongressDaily, 8/1).
All committee Democrats, as well as Sens. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), voted in favor of the bill. Kennedy said that the full Senate will consider the legislation after the August recess(CQ Today, 8/1).
The legislation has 53 co-sponsors, 12 of whom are Republicans. Kennedy said, "Ultimately, we're going to have to get 60 votes" required to prevent a filibuster of the bill, adding, "All of that is doable" (Henderson, Boston Globe, 8/2).
However, opponents likely will "mount fierce efforts to defeat or sidetrack the bill" on the Senate floor, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/2).
CBS' "Evening News" on Wednesday reported on the bill. The segment includes comments from Matthew Myers, president and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Kennedy (Cordes, "Evening News," CBS, 8/1). Video of the segment and expanded CBS News coverage are available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.