The govt wants to make smokers quit. Raising taxes don't seem to help. Since smokers evade those taxes by buying em online or by switching to MYOs. And of course, a hood smoker is more interested in getting those packs for free so to speak.
But if people ain't gonna stop smoking, you can make em quit by forcing em to pay more and buy more packs.
How do you make smokers buy more packs and pay more as a result? By regulating tobacco itself. But I seriously hope tobacco regulation NEVA happens.
http://www.ombwatch .org/article/ blogs/entry/ 4803/18
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Tobacco Regulation Bill on the Move
The House yesterday took a step toward regulating tobacco products,
as the Energy and Commerce Committee voted 32-12 in favor of giving
oversight authority to the Food and Drug Administration.
Among other things, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control
Act (H.R. 1108) would allow FDA to set standards for nicotine content
in cigarettes and to exert control over the marketing and advertising
of tobacco products. The bill would not permit FDA to ban nicotine
outright. The bill would allow FDA to collect user fees — a
controversial process whereby regulated companies pay the federal
government to inspect and oversee their products — in order to fund a
new tobacco regulation office. (More info here.)
The federal government can regulate lots of products that have the
potential to do harm including food, pharmaceuticals, and vehicles.
Yet on tobacco, a product certain to do harm, government is
Industry pressure has kept tobacco off the government's regulatory
radar, as a New York Times editorial states this morning: "For years,
the industry greedily fought off regulation with mendacious denials
and addictive donations to lawmakers' re-election kitties."
This time around, the tobacco industry is divided. Phillip Morris has
expressed support for the bill, but Reynolds American is opposed.
Reynolds claims that FDA is ill-equipped to handle the additional
If you're waiting for FDA to set the record straight on its ability
to regulate tobacco, don't hold your breath. FDA Commissioner Andrew
von Eschenbach said last year that placing tobacco under the agency's
purview would be a burden, according to The Wall Street Journal
(subscription) . The Journal also reports President Bush may veto the
bill if Congress finalizes it this year.
FDA is an underfunded agency, and the lack of funding has made it
difficult for FDA to fulfill its mission. However, the user fee
program should provide a steady source of income. According to the
Journal, "The House panel estimates that the FDA will collect $85
million from tobacco companies in the first year and eventually
assess fees of $712 million in the next decade."
Moreover, FDA should not shy away from the responsibility to regulate
tobacco because it cannot afford to do so. Instead, it should embrace
tobacco regulation, then zealously push Congress to provide robust
funding for all the agency's activities.