Monday, March 2, 2009

Waxman, Platts to Introduce FDA Regulation Bill in House

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Representative Todd Platts (R-PA) this week will introduce the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.” This bipartisan legislation would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products and to provide ongoing oversight to protect the public’s health.

"Tobacco is the deadliest product on the market today, killing almost 400,000 Americans every yearm," said Corinne G. Husten, MD, MPH, interim president of Partnership for Prevention. "Yet, it is one of the least regulated consumer products. It is long past time for tobacco products to be regulated to save more lives and protect the public’s health."

One significant provision in the bill would require makers of tobacco products that are marketed as safer than other tobacco products to demonstrate their claims. Millions of Americans were convinced to switch to low-tar cigarettes believing they reduced their risk of lung cancer. Many years later, low-tar cigarettes were found to be just as harmful as full-tar. Many deaths could have been prevented if this information had been known and people were encouraged to quit smoking instead.

"Partnership calls on the full House, which overwhelmingly approved a similar bill last July, to quickly pass this legislation," Husten said. "The sooner this legislation becomes law, the sooner we can save more lives and reduce health care costs."

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