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One Step Toward a Tobacco Monopoly

The New York Times has a story today on the FDA regulation bill, which would place the tobacco industry under FDA regulation. The bill has been amended to permit only two additives to cigarettes that are currently used by the dominant cigarette company, Philip Morris -- specifically, menthol and cloves -- while banning other natural and artificial flavors that other tobacco companies add to their cigarettes as a way of offering a competing product. (Small tobacco companies call the bill the "Philip Morris monopoly bill," since the regulatory costs of being subject to the FDA's jurisdiction would drive many small companies out of business). The bill also would make it harder to offer smokers reduced-risk tobacco products that are less dangerous than cigarettes, as I explained yesterday.