Key Lawmakers Agree on Tobacco Regulation Plan

U.S. Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and U.S. Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) have been working out the details of twin bills that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco, the Associated Press reported May 20.

Under the legislation, the FDA would be allowed to ban certain ingredients in cigarettes and other tobacco products, reduce nicotine levels, and prohibit the use of the terms “light” and “ultra-light.” However, the FDA would not be able to ban cigarettes entirely or eliminate nicotine.

Philip Morris USA has indicated its support of FDA regulation. Other tobacco companies oppose FDA regulation, arguing that new advertising restrictions would prevent them from gaining any market share from Philip Morris.

U.S. Senate lawmakers from tobacco states said they would support the FDA regulation measure in exchange for support of a tobacco-buyout bill. In the Senate, both bills could be linked, while in the House of Representatives the buyout bill could be added to a corporate tax bill up for consideration next month.