June 11th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Senate passes bill increasing FDA power to regulate tobacco

 A bill that increases the power of the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products cleared the Senate on Thursday.
A bill that increases the power of the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products cleared the Senate on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A bill that increases the power of the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products cleared the Senate on Thursday.

The Senate voted 79-17 for the measure, which is similar to a bill already passed by the House of Representatives.

An aide to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the chamber will vote Friday on accepting the Senate bill, which would send the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Most Senate opposition came from tobacco-producing states including Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In a break from
tradition, the two senators from Virginia - another tobacco state - supported the measure, indicating a moderate shift in the state's politics.


The tobacco bill would allow the FDA to ban some tobacco products, limit the amount of nicotine in tobacco products and enlarge warning labels.

A White House statement quoted Obama as calling the measure historic for "giving the scientists and medical experts at the FDA the power to take sensible steps that will reduce tobacco's harmful effects and prevent tobacco companies from marketing their products to children."

The statement said Obama looks forward to signing the bill.

– CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    RNC likes to extend government control through moral legislation.
    DNC likes to extend government control through financial laws.

    When they get together on something – WATCH OUT. And Obama will sign it!

    Question Big Government!

    June 11, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Drew

    Maybe once they have to show ingredients on the side of packages the tobacco companies can work on making a safer product

    June 11, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Dawn in Pa

    It could help alot of people to quit smoking. All people do want to quit smoking, but the desire for that nicotine is so strong...some people say and I am one who can make that claim, it's easy to start to smoke cigerettes, but hard as hell to quit.

    I applaud President Obama for making it possible, maybe to help people quit once and for all.

    June 11, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Back to Simple Life

    Cigarettes this week – Wall Street next week.

    Oh wait - that's the wealthy on wall street --- never mind.

    June 11, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    I'm a smoker, but I support this. Quitting is hard...more people should be prevented from even having to do so. Of course, we gotta save the babies so we can get 14-year-olds addicted to tobacco, right GOPers?

    June 11, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Abigo

    Why won't they regulate oil – Free market is free market.

    June 11, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Kevin

    Why do they pull lettuce off the market if it kills only one person?

    ,.. but when cigarettes kill hundreds of thousands, nobody does anything.

    I don't understand.

    June 11, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. donttreadonme

    While it is par for the course that Obama would see fit to take control of another industry, it is sick that the Tobacco companies add additional nicotine to their products.

    This hits close to home as my dear Grandpa died from throat cancer and my Father suffers from severe COPD even though they both quit years ago.

    Take care of this now before another generation of kids suffer the same results.

    June 11, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. mort

    what else could they possibly do that they haven't already? cigarettes are over $5 here. that doesn't mean i'm any closer to quitting; it just makes me poorer. i didn't mind paying the extra tax for S-CHIP, but this makes me a sad, sad smoker.

    June 11, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Paul from Phoenix

    My post has nothing to do with this story, but since I can't post about the white supremecist shooting, I am going to rant here.

    The coverage of this story is total CRAP. Yes, it is sad what happened. Yes, the supremecist should fry. However, the soldiers that were killed in a drive by didn't get NEARLY the press time that this is getting.

    The media needs to stop treating our soldiers like enemies!

    June 11, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    As if truth.com commercals aren't scary enough.

    June 11, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Mississippi Mike

    Doesn't the FDA already control the tobacco industry? Is this another government takeover of an industry or is congress just mettling in the private sector again? Also, is private sector a word that still has any relevant meaning?

    June 11, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Ryan

    I don't have any sympathy for smokers... I have to breathe in that second hand cloud of who knows what every time I'm at the bus stop so if you ask me, they can't die soon enough. Or at least be taxed or have their substance abuse issue regulated to next to nothing.

    When someone's bad habit and inconsiderate manners affect my health – don't think I won't do anything to vote for those who will pass legislation to protect my lungs.

    June 11, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Who voted against it?

    June 11, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    Its about time. The tobacco industry calls cigarettes 'nicotine delivery devices', and they know they are dispensing a drug. This is exactly where tobacco products belong.

    Who doesn't have a close friend or relative who hasn't had cancer caused by cigarettes? No one I know.

    June 11, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. lola

    This is great! For all of your who think this hampers free markets- think again! Most everything we use is regulated to protect us from our water to the hours people can work without being paid overtime. There are safety laws in every industry. I say if the FDA can regulate toothpaste and chewing gum it should indeed regulate tobacco. Big Tobacco has worked in secret and not so sercret to get children addicted to nicotine and tobacco in general, through packaging, access, cartoon characters, give aways, lies, movies and candy flavors. They know that getting people addicted before their brain is fully mature ensures a nictoine addict for life.This is a great day for public and children's health.

    June 11, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. JT

    What if all US citizens quit smoking? The numbers of people getting cancer would plummet, as probably would high blood pressure, and many other diseases. Life expectancy would probably increase. Heath care costs may enter into a more affordable realm. Work productivity would probably climb. Carbon emissions might even be measurably lower.

    My father died from lung cancer associated with smoking. If you've ever had a loved one to go through all that, you will never let anyone you love ever smoke again.

    June 11, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Susan

    All I can say is- it is about time. My father died from COPD and emphysema because he smoked. My son is allergic to cigarette smoke. But the rights of all the idiots out there who smoke are more important than the rights of the rest of us who would like fresh air. And to all the parents who smoke- think of all the abuse you are heaping on the bodies of your children.

    June 11, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. donttreadonme

    Sniffit June 11th, 2009 4:17 pm ET
    Of course, we gotta save the babies so we can get 14-year-olds addicted to tobacco, right GOPers?
    -------------------------------
    Your flippant remarks about the destruction of 50 million lives is surprising. Many of them were late term living babies.

    I think we can all agree that tobacco has caused way too much damage. I find it interesting that the same folks who would legalize marijuana are now controlling tobacco?

    June 11, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. independent

    Good point Paul (Paul from Phoenix)

    While it isn't surprising that CNN and the rest of the news media play into the public interest (those stories that generate the most interest get the most coverage). There is no reason why a genuine news outlet can't also cover the news.

    In this case, CNN could do an indepth story: comparing and contrasting the two events, the two attackers, the difference, the similarities. What does it mean, if anything, for America?

    Educate the public, not just feed their immediate emotional interests.

    June 11, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Wrong Commentary Section, but I don't care:

    "Perhaps if the President had not spoken in Egypt and made such anti Israeli remarks there, that gunman would not have been motivated to shoot up the Holocaut Museum."

    Whoever said that wins today's crazytalk award. For one thing, it's a blatant mischaracterization of what Obama said. For another, it's a proven statistical fact that right-wing anti-government extremists like that nutjob who blasted his way into the Holocaust Museum respond to and are motivated by (a) the mere existence of a Dem POTUS and (b) the ramped-up rhetoric from the GOP that comes in response to the mere existence of a Dem POTUS...about states' rights to determine Constitutionally protected civil rights, taxation, teabagging, revolution, secession, fear mongering about gun rights, blabber about socialism, etc. I know it's hard for you to admit GOPers, but the reality is, your positions, policies, behavior and rhetoric motivate BOTH the right-wing extremists AND the muslim jihadists.

    June 11, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. ThinkAboutIt

    Paul from Phoenix, get over it! One of the reasons the Holocaust Museum shooting is getting a lot of coverage is because it happened in a public building in the nation's capitol!

    The media does not treat our soldiers as enemies; don't you remember the piece about the WWII soldiers who were held at a slave labor camp, and how CNN's exposure has led, finally, to them being acknowledged? And what about all the other countless pieces we see on soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Heck, the Colbert Report is broadcasting from Iraq all this week!

    June 11, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. james

    @Mike

    No, the reason for this bill is EXACTLY because the FDA does not currently regulate tobacco. For so long, the tobacco industry had control over congress and the president. Now, those days are over. You complain about "government takeovers". I don't think you realize it's a people's takeover of big business trampling on OUR health.
    Big businesses and Government are opposite sides of teh same coin. Who would you rather have control of your health??? the one with a profit motive or the one accountable to voters?

    June 11, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Who do you intend to tax for all your interests (roads, education, health care, etc) after you finally get cigarettes and other tobacco products outlawed? I guess the fast-food restaurants are next, and then the candy stores, and then the movies (because they encourage idleness), and then the ....

    June 11, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Crazy ass human being

    @Ryan
    And while you're waiting at the bus stop it doesn't matter if you're sucking it out of the tailpipes of the multitude of cars, truck and other buses that pass you by. Step downwind of the smokers MORON

    June 11, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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