Legislation to give FDA authority over tobacco


Largest global cigarette and cigar manufacturers by revenue

1. Philip Morris USA Inc.

2. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc.

3. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation

4. Carolina Group

5. Altria Group, Inc.

6. British American Tobacco p.l.c.

7. Japan Tobacco Inc.

8. Gallaher Group Plc

9. Altadis, S.A.

10. Imperial Tobacco Group PLC

Source: Yahoo! Finance


By Kristin Hodges

Kansas State Collegian

Legislation to grant the Federal Drug Administration authority over tobacco product regulation has moved to the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill, which has bipartisan support.

According to a Wednesday article by the Media General News Service, the legislation would give the FDA control over nicotine levels, cigarette marketing and health-warning labels, proposals that have been in Congress for more than a decade.

The bill would reinstate the FDA’s 1996 rule that restricted tobacco marketing and sales to youth. According to a release by the Energy and Commerce Committee, the legislation would give the FDA the authority and resources to control regulation of tobacco products.

“The legislation provides FDA with resources necessary to fulfill its new responsibilities by requiring manufacturers and importers of tobacco to pay user fees to fund FDA’s new regulatory responsibilities under the bill,” according to the release.

According to the committee’s Web site, the bill has more than 600 organizations supporting it.

Ryan Willcott, president of College Republicans, said there are parts of the legislation he likes, like the push to lower the levels of nicotine to help with addiction. He also said he likes that the government would be able to rid any appeals that cigarettes have to children, and he agrees with increasing the size of the surgeon general’s warning on packaging.

“I think that everyone that smokes knows the risks, but there still may be some things that people need to know,” he said.

While Willcott said he agreed with several parts of the proposed legislation, he said he doesn’t think the tobacco industry should lose all of its freedom.

“I think the FDA should have the authority to regulate it to a point,” he said, “but also it is an industry and it should not be completely controlled.”

Liz Montaño, communications director for Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., said Boyda supports the bill, though she is concerned that the FDA’s regulation of tobacco could seem like its endorsement of the product.

“Representative Boyda has some concerns how people will take that bill,” Montaño said. “She doesn’t want it to end up like a government seal of approval.”

Montaño read a letterthat Boyda sent to a constituent concerning her opinion on the legislation. Boyda said she signed on with the bill because she is worried about the toll tobacco products are taking on our society, including the lives lost and the money spent on health care in Kansas.

“The regulation of tobacco products will save lives and save money,” Rep. Boyda wrote. “The FDA is the agency that has the most expertise in this area, so I have signed as a co-sponsor of this bill, and I will work to get it passed by the House of Representatives this year.”

Charlene Brownson, chair of Clean Air Manhattan, said she thinks the regulation of tobacco products is long overdue. She has had family members die prematurely because of smoking cigarettes, so she thinks the legislation is important.

She also thinks that there needs to be a reduction of nicotine levels.

“Because of the higher levels in tobacco products, the tobacco industry is succeeding in getting young people addicted faster,” she said.