Tobacco regulation

The Washington Post makes the case for FDA regulation of tobacco:

The FDA regulates everything from vegetables to Viagra. But cigarettes, which lead to some 400,000 deaths in the United States each year and shorten a smoker’s life by 10 years on average, have somehow escaped oversight. As a result, tobacco companies don’t have to divulge the ingredients in their products. They also don’t have to disclose the levels of nicotine in their cigarettes. This means they can label their products as “light” or “low tar” with few restrictions; smokers have no way of knowing whether such claims are true. The bill would prevent cigarette companies from using such labels. It would also curb cigarette advertising and forbid fruit-flavored cigarettes intended to lure new smokers. The legislation would fund a new program within the FDA to oversee Big Tobacco by imposing a user fee on cigarette companies.

And the specious arguments of opponents:

The bill’s critics, including the Bush administration, say that FDA regulation could trick consumers into thinking cigarettes are approved by the agency. But a provision in the legislation would prohibit Big Tobacco from perpetuating such a misunderstanding.

Puhleaz!

Also, remember the post last week suggesting a tobacco sales ban in pharmacies? Well, Phillip Morris unsuccessfully fought such a ban in San Francisco.