Senate Approves Bill Giving FDA Authority Over Tobacco

Measure requires companies to list ingredients and agency to approve new products
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Senate has passed a measure that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broad authority over the advertising, sale, and manufacture of tobacco products, an action that is being applauded by the American Medical Association, among others.

Senators voted 79 to 17 in favor of the bill, and the House approved a similar measure earlier. The Associated Press has reported that President Barack Obama supports the legislation. President George W. Bush, Obama's predecessor, opposed previous bills that would have given the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco.

The newly passed legislation requires tobacco makers to list their products' contents, allows the FDA to set levels for nicotine and other cigarette ingredients, and requires the agency to approve new tobacco products similar to the way it does with drugs and medical devices. In addition, it would give the FDA the authority to require stronger warnings on cigarette packaging.

"Passage of this legislation represents an important break from the past, as it signifies broad acceptance that nicotine is a drug harmful to people's health. Tobacco companies will now have to disclose ingredients and use stronger warning labels," Nancy Nielsen, M.D., president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement. "New bans on all outdoor tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds and on tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and entertainment events will help keep tobacco advertising away from kids. These new marketing restrictions can help keep our kids away from cigarettes so they can become healthy adults."

AMA Press Release
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