Public Interest Group Hails Supreme Court Snuff-Out of FDA Tobacco Regs

Washington, DC, March 21, 2000 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute applauded today’s Supreme Court invalidation of the Food and Drug Administration’s attempt to regulate tobacco. The 5-4 decision was based on an interpretation of FDA’s underlying statutes, but CEI hailed the ruling as having far broader implications.

“FDA’s tobacco rules always raised a basic question—if tobacco is a drug, then what’s the disease? The Supreme Court’s decision cuts through all the public health rhetoric and focuses on this one basic issue,” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman stated. “By exposing the nonsense at the base of FDA’s approach, the Court has done this country an immense service. Given the industry’s numerous other battles, this victory may be only one small step forward for tobacco, but it’s one giant step forward for the cause of liberty and individual rights.”

CEI has long opposed FDA’s tobacco rule, viewing it as a backdoor attempt to deny adults the ability to buy a product whose risks are well known. “FDA’s proposal may have been clothed in the language of protecting children, but its real target was adults,” Mr. Kazman said.

In 1995, after FDA first issued its proposal to regulate cigarettes as nicotine-delivery devices, CEI petitioned the agency to similarly regulate coffees and colas as caffeine-delivery devices. CEI today stated that it will withdraw that petition.

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209.