(by Susan Jones, CNSNews.com) – On Thursday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers will introduce legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration the legal authority to regulate tobacco products.
The stated goal is to prevent young people from acquiring the cigarette habit — and to help smokers quit.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is sponsored by Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Tom Davis (R-Va.).
They plan to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the bill.
In a news release, the lawmakers noted that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America and that thousands of children have their first cigarette every day.
“This legislation will give the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products in order to keep tobacco manufacturers from enticing young people to smoke and to assist current smokers in quitting,” the news release said.
Under the bill, the FDA would be authorized to prevent tobacco advertising that targets children; prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors; help smokers overcome their addiction; identify and reduce the toxins in tobacco products and tobacco smoke; regulate claims about reduced-risk tobacco products; and prevent the tobacco industry from misleading the public about the dangers of smoking.
The FDA claimed authority to regulate tobacco products in 1996, but the tobacco industry sued the FDA, and the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the tobacco industry. The Justices ruled that Congress must enact legislation giving the FDA legal authority to regulate tobacco.
The bill being introduced on Thursday would satisfy the court’s requirement.
Two tobacco giants, Altria and Philip Morris, have said they “strongly support” FDA regulation of tobacco products.
“We believe FDA regulation would play a significant role in reducing the harm caused by tobacco. This is a goal that we share with the public health community and society and believe is good for our company, our employees and the industry as a whole,” the companies say on their websites.
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1. What is the stated goal of a bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the legal authority to regulate tobacco products?
2. a) What is the name of the bill?
b) Name the congressmen sponsoring the bill.
3. If the bill is passed into law, what will the FDA specifically be authorized to do?
4. What happened in 1996 when the FDA claimed authority to regulate tobacco products?
5. Do you think that this bill should become a law? Explain your answer.
6. What do you think is the best way to prevent young people from becoming cigarette smokers?
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