Congress weighs whether to let FDA regulate tobacco

August 20, 2007

The legislation would grant the agency authority to crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids; require that tobacco companies disclose the contents of tobacco products and reduce or remove harmful ingredients; stop tobacco companies from misleading the public about the health risk of their products; and require larger, more effective health warnings on tobacco products.

Should the FDA regulate tobacco products? Sen. Edward Kennedy (D, Mass.) and the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which he chairs, are supporting legislation that would give the agency this new authority. The legislation would grant the agency authority to crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids; require that tobacco companies disclose the contents of tobacco products and reduce or remove harmful ingredients; stop tobacco companies from misleading the public about the health risk of their products; and require larger, more effective health warnings on tobacco products. ASHP issued this statement, "ASHP welcomes the HELP committee's action that would allow FDA oversight of tobacco based on science. We look forward to continued debate as this legislation moves forward. Moreover, ASHP policy promotes the role of pharmacists in tobacco-cessation programs in order to reduce the number of people who develop disease and die prematurely." NACDS and APhA declined to comment.

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