Smoking Prevention Bill May Backfire
Contact: Jody Clarke, 202.331.2252
Washington, DC, October 2, 2007—As the House Committee on Energy and Commerce prepares to hold a hearing tomorrow on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1108), the Competitive Enterprise Institute is urging committee members to consider the negative effects the bill could have on public health.
The legislation would give the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco products, but in a letter to the committee, CEI’s general counsel, Sam Kazman, points out that FDA’s own commissioner opposed this expansion of agency power—an incredibly rare position for an agency head to take.
Among the adverse effects the bill would have are barring the advertising of smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes, hindering the development of other reduced-risk tobacco products and making it more difficult for FDA to improve its handling of far more important issues such as medical drug approval. By reducing cigarette nicotine levels, the bill could also increase the amount of harmful tar inhaled, because smokers would smoke more cigarettes in order to satisfy their nicotine craving.
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Competitive Enterprise Institute