TOBACCO: Frist, McCain Defend Regulation Bill
Amidst criticism from the public health community, Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) defended their tobacco regulation bill yesterday, arguing that it would "help save lives because it could pass Congress," CongressDaily reports. The legislation, expected to be considered soon, would give the FDA authority to require tobacco companies to disclose product ingredients, amend warning labels, create incentives for developing safer products and restrict the access, sale and marketing of products to children. McCain noted that a similar 1998 bill failed because it granted the FDA authority to ban tobacco products and gave the agency control over advertising, provisions absent from the new legislation. According to Frist, the new bill would give substantial power to the FDA, allowing it to "regulate tobacco for the first time." However, Senate Democrats and public health groups, such as the Coalition for Tobacco-Free Kids, have not endorsed the bill. In addition, the American Cancer Society called the bill "a step backwards," explaining that "[m]eaningful regulation of tobacco products is critical to public health, and we can't afford to get it wrong" (Fulton, 5/16).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.