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Terry Martin

President Obama Signs FDA Tobacco Bill

By June 22, 2009

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A day that will be noted in history books, today President Obama signed landmark legislation into law that will award the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory power over the manufacture and marketing of many commercially produced tobacco products.

Known as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, this bill puts significant emphasis on protecting our young people through strict control of advertising and products specifically aimed at minors. The bill is heartily supported by both Republicans and Democrats.

While the FDA will not have the authority to ban tobacco products completely, it will have power in a number of areas that affect consumers.

Tobacco Manufacturing and Control:

  • Ingredient disclosure -- tobacco companies and importers of tobacco products will be required to list out all ingredients in their products.
  • Ingredient control -- the FDA will have the authority to require tobacco companies to remove or reduce harmful ingredients in tobacco products.
  • New products -- tobacco companies must seek FDA approval for new tobacco products.
  • Ban candy flavorings -- The FDA will ban the use of kid-friendly additives such as fruit and candy flavors in tobacco products.
  • Advertising -- the bill will limit marketing meant to attract young smokers.
  • Warning labels -- the FDA will require tobacco companies to post larger and stronger messages about the hazards of smoking on tobacco packaging.
  • "Light", "Mild", "Low" -- misleading words that tobacco companies will no longer be able to use to describe their products.
Additionally, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will levy fees on tobacco companies to pay for the new regulations enacted.

While this legislation isn't perfect, it is a giant step in the right direction. Let's hope that from here, the U.S. government and others around the world will continue to tighten control over tobacco products that threaten to steal a human life every three seconds by the year 2030, if current smoking trends continue, unchecked.


Mark Wilson/Getty Images

June 25, 2009 at 1:01 pm
(1) Michael Pullen says:

I think smoking is a bad habit. I am glad I quit. However the govt. has no right to control a private company. Everyone wants to support the government’s draconian laws when they do not apply to them. What if tomorrow, they say there will be a $25.00 tax per gallon of water consumed by anyone. I think that will affect everyone who is human. Is this more or less fair than controlling a lawful product produced by a lawful company trying to do business without being taxed to death. Now if R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris, and the Duke family took back all of the benefits, money that they have given out over the years, I believe Wake Forest University, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, Winston-Salem, Durham, most of the infrastructure in these cities along with Richmond would not even exist. Tobacco has been in the past the best cash crop available to any farmer in the south. Large farms or small it provided the income to support vast numbers of southern people, myself included. I have never even seen an advertisement specifically aimed at young potential smokers. The FDA itself is a joke.

July 1, 2009 at 5:02 am

hi guys stop smoking it will harm your health please. to all the tobacco control advocates out there, know that the youths are the cream of the nation and that means we should create a smoke free world for the future generations. VICTOR MATETE of KENYA TOBACCO CONTROL ALLIANCE. lets fight this disease. it is truly a slow and painful death. the company gets rich and you are dead.

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