business news in context, analysis with attitude

The US House of Representatives has approved by a vote of 326-102 legislation that would allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the tobacco industry, a move that has long been encouraged by anti-smoking forces and battled by the cigarette business.

According to the Washington Post, the legislation, if passed into law, “would give the agency broad authority over cigarette makers, including the power to ban marketing of cigarettes to children, require disclosure of tobacco ingredients and mandate larger, more specific health warnings. It would also enable the agency to require tobacco companies to reduce or eliminate harmful ingredients and ban candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes.”

However, the probability that the bill actually becomes law seems minimal, at least according to the Post, since President Bush has said that he will veto the measure and the US Senate is unlikely to pass it by the 60-vote margin that would enable it to override his veto.

KC's View:
One MNB use commented to me over the weekend that this may not be the best move in the world since the FDA seems utterly incapable of handling the matters that are on its plate right now, much less take on any new responsibilities. Which seems about right … though I have to say that anything that restricts or hurts the tobacco companies is okay with me. Maybe it would serve them right to get tangled up in FDA bureaucracy…though based on the agency’s apparent preference for commerce interests over health concerns, it’ll probably end up that the tobacco companies will be able to take the warning labels off their cigarette packages.

Or maybe that’s just my cynicism talking…