Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Senate panel votes for harsher cigarette warnings

July 26, 2007


— Cigarette packs would bear graphic warnings that illustrate the health risks of smoking under a provision added Wednesday to landmark tobacco legislation pending in a Senate committee.

The warnings would mimic those already used in Canada and elsewhere.

"These warnings convey the truth in no uncertain terms," said Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Enzi opposes the overall bill, however, saying that it doesn't do enough to support smoking cessation programs.

The amendment was accepted as part of overall legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration authority for the first time to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee began considering the bill Wednesday but delayed final action until today.

The bill has broad support in the Senate, where 52 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors.

"They recognize that giving FDA authority over tobacco products is essential to effectively addressing the tobacco health crisis," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

But some lawmakers opposed the legislation, saying it would overburden an already busy agency.

"FDA is having a very difficult time performing its current responsibilities. To add such an enormous responsibility such as regulating tobacco simply doesn't make sense," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

An amendment offered by Hatch to delay implementation of the legislation while its cost and impact on the FDA is studied was defeated 12-9.

The program would be funded by $450 million a year in fees collected from the tobacco industry. The fees work out to an estimated 2.5 cents per pack.


storm 10 years, 9 months ago

This legislation is overkill because tabacco companies already put warnings on their packages. But why stop with the tabacco companies? How about graphic images on fast-food wrappers or candy? What is the difference between tabacco companies putting more nicotine in smokes to make people more addicted, and food companies enhancing their products with fake sugars? How about just one warning for everything - "Too much of a good thing is harmful to your health." Seriously, though, if this legislation helps tabacco companies to prevail when so-called victims and their families try to sue them, then this will teach people that they are accountable for their lifestyle choices.

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