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

Senate passes bill increasing FDA power to regulate tobacco

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/11/art.smoking1.gi.jpg caption=" 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. dc

    look on the face of it – this might appear to be a good bill and many were duped to believe that but if you scratch the service it isn't. The bill was supported by Philip Morris but no other tobacco company – the reason:

    it will prohibit new safer means of consuming tobacco/nicotine from entering market and push out smaller tobacco companies. Philip Morris are over joyed. They should be. They crafted the legislation with their partner tobacco free kids. Here's what Michael Siegal a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health said:

    "It is a dream come true for Philip Morris. First, they make it look like they are a reformed company which really cares about reducing the toll of cigarettes and protecting the public's health; and second, they protect their domination of the market and make it impossible for potentially competitive products to enter the market." Other tobacco companies have taken to calling the bill the "Marlboro Monopoly Act of 2009."

    June 11, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Mick

    Doesn't the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regulate tobacco?

    At least this may put in dent in future Health Care costs if more people decide to stop smoking.

    As a former smoker, I know how hard it is to quit but it finally stuck after the fifth "real attempt at stopping". Maybe this will help a few people and many, many more never start.

    June 11, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Cassandra Washington

    I would be more impressed if they did something that would cause people to stop drinking alcohol. DUI deaths in this country are appalling.

    June 11, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. true daughter of the american revolution

    ryan – if you're so worried about your lungs, worry about other forms of air polution as well. i'm not a smoker, but cigarrettes are not the end all-blight in our air.
    tobacco tax pays for healthcare for kids and our roads, to name a few things.
    do you support air quality control?

    June 11, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. james

    Big Business or Big Government? Which is it going to be?

    I'll take the one that is accountable to voters any day, over the one trying to make a buck on our suffering. Now, if we can get special interests and big business to quit financing our elections, we'd have representatives truly beholden to the voters. With Obama, we got that. More senators and congresspeople like him, and we'd be alot better off.

    June 11, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. fella from Chicago

    Why don't they just ban cigarettes in this country and get it over with? If these people have to pay such an outlandish price for this product, you'd think at least they would be allowed back inside buildings to smoke and get out of the cold and heat. They paid for it.

    June 11, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom

    @ Paul from Phoenix...... You are free to rant. I understand. However, what's with you folks on the far-right constantly attacking the media for not covering the killing of one soldier and the wounding of another? We ALL have heard about this horrible crime that happened a couple of weeks ago.

    What I wonder about, Paul, is do we now become enraged because a Muslim kills an American? Do we ask for the religion of each killer so we can hate more people?

    What difference does it make if a Muslim kills or a White crazy kills? Killing is wrong no matter who is killed, or whom the killer is. ALL killing is wrong.

    Peace brother!

    June 11, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Allen

    As an ex-smoker of over 20 years, I wish they had done this under President Reagan. The Tobacco Industry manipulated nicotine levels in tobacco products for years in order to increase a smoker’s addiction. Nicotine is stronger today than at any time in history, it is more addictive than cocaine (which is why smokers find it so difficult to quit), the government should regulate nicotine levels. If we can reduce the potency of nicotine, it may give some smokers a change to quit. Even though I quit a decade ago, I still suffer from several health issues directly related to smoking. I take responsibility for my choice to start smoking, but the tobacco companies manipulated their product so I would not be able to stop. This should have been done 30 years ago…

    June 11, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. walleye

    Why are they even producing these cancer sticks any longer, and why are people still buying them?? FOOLS.

    June 11, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Citizen from NY

    Nabi Pharmaceuticals is developing a vaccine called NicVax which is supposed to aid pe0ple in smoking cessation, and the FDA has put NicVax on their "Fast Track" program....that was in 2007. I, for the life of me, cannot find any newer information on NicVax other than that; and I would like to know when will it be on the market for the general public to get from their doctors? I have tried everything short of hypnosis to stop smoking, to no avail, and I would be first in line to receive NicVax. I think Congress should light a huge barnfire under the FDA so that the FDA will push NicVax to immediate marketability.

    June 11, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. texas smoker

    I have smoked over 50 years, have tried to quit numerous times, however, until the price went this high AND I started getting sicker did I finally get the message to STOP ! I am now on the cq patch, and if I have to stay on it forever, I would ! the patch costs $21.oo a week, the cigs cost $42.00 week for cheapest, worst offending cigs..hmmmm, doesnt take a rocket scientist to get the message there..BUT..being a smoker, NOTHING will make you quit until you WANT to quit, and this time I WANT to quit..I am already enjoying fresh breath, my sense of smell returned, my sens of taste returned, no one is telling me my hair or clothes stink...or backing away from me ! will I make it this time....YES !!!!

    June 11, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Its about time. Canada has been slowly increasing the laws against smoking over the last 15 years or so, and fewer people are smoking than ever before, while they get revenue from the very high taxes levied on it. Sounds good to me.

    June 11, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Gary

    Tobacco is bad but I get nervous that the FDA expands it's power and isn't even doing its drug approval and monitoring job well enough. How about if they do a great job with their current power before they take on new responsiblities.

    June 11, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Voter

    Do they really have nothing better to do?

    How about alcohol? I'm still waiting for the headline, "Smoker goes wrong way on major highway – kills 12."

    June 11, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit

    The goverment is just a bunch of liars.
    They took all that money from Tobacco. Milliions.
    They were supposed to use it for healthcare for smokers.
    At least that was the premise.
    But they use it for other programs. They mispend and waste.
    Now they are going to beat up on Tobacco and tax them some more.
    Force them to pay more penalties and fees.
    Drive another industry into the ground after they skin as much off of them as they can.

    June 11, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. donttreadonme

    Susan June 11th, 2009 4:36 pm ET

    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--------------------------–

    I feel your pain and agree 100%.

    June 11, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. MatthewDetroit

    The goverment wont out law smoking because they love the tax dollar.
    Dont kid yourselfves.
    They will make them look bad.
    They will chastise them for hurting poor little children.
    They will readily open their campaign pockets for donations.
    They love to pull in the tax dollars and spend them where they will.

    June 11, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Paul from Phoenix


    I am nowhere near the far right. I voted Obama (though starting to regret it). But i am angry that the murder of the soldiers got pushed under the rug. My opinion. Second, I don't care if it was a muslim or a christian, our soldiers were murdered, and it was done for religious beliefs, and In my opinion they are not receiving the proper respect they deserve.

    Our soldiers are deserve better.


    Is a drive-by at a recruitment center not a public place? Would you feel better about my rant if the soldiers were shot in DC? Stupid comment.

    June 11, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Sure, let's focus on the killing of that soldier by a muslim and the 4 dudes in NYC who wanted to bomb a synagogue: guess whose rhetoric and policies motivated them? Hint: it's not the Dems' and liberals'. Cry abotu it all you want guys, but whether it's the neonzi racists and anti-semites, anti-government militia wannabes who fancy themselves freedom fighters, or muslim jihadists...they all get excited by the things the GOP says.

    June 11, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. donttreadonme

    Voter June 11th, 2009 4:59 pm ET
    Do they really have nothing better to do?
    How about alcohol? I'm still waiting for the headline, "Smoker goes wrong way on major highway – kills 12."
    Lets ban cars as well as it is the combination of driving and alcohol that are the problem. Consumed responsibly it is fine. Same can't be said about smoking.

    June 11, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Zero.

    Another Treaty Broken.

    June 11, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    @ Vopter, who said "How about alcohol? I'm still waiting for the headline, "Smoker goes wrong way on major highway – kills 12."

    Indeed...and I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why chowing a whole bag of Doritos while smoking a J and watching 90210 reruns while sacked out on the couch is justifiably considered a crime haha

    June 11, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Buddy Gilmour

    It will be a great day when tobacco disappears from the American scene.

    June 11, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  24. Scott

    I think the government needs to keep their hands off my wife and daughters' bodies, my hunting equipment (I'd hate to be considered a kook for calling them 'guns') and my chew. I know it all sounds redneckish, but I'm actually an educated person who is wary of what's going on in our country. I'm not a huge fan of being told that other people should be making decisions about the things I choose to have in my life – should one of my daughters end up pregnant from a sexual assault, she should not be made to live with it. That decision shouldn't be left up to the states either. My chew is my choice and so are my hunting guns..... When one breaks, I don't need someone telling me I can't fix the part myself if I have the know-how. My chew does nothing to anyone else around me..... Of course that's unless someone catches on, but I've never seen anyone get sick or die because they were disgusted with my habit. It's not the healthiest choice I ever made, but if my serving 16 years in the military and going to war was a 'choice' then so should anything I or my family choose to do or have...

    June 11, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    Interestingly enough...and someone should point this out to be fair...it sortof seems that there's actually some common ground here on this issue between the "loony libs" and the "nasty neocons". Go figure.

    June 11, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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