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House Committee Approves FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill

On April 2, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved, 38-12, a bill (H.R. 1108) that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved the bill on March 11 (see The Source, 3/14/08). The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved a similar bill (S. 625) on August 1 (see The Source, 8/3/07).

Sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act would require the FDA to evaluate tobacco companies’ claims about their products, regulate advertising and marketing, control nicotine levels, and mandate warning labels. The FDA would not have the power to ban tobacco products.

During debate, the committee approved, by voice vote, a manager’s amendment offered by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) that clarified that a cigarette has a “characterizing flavor” if it or its smoke “imparts a distinguishable taste or aroma other than tobacco or menthol either prior to consumption or during consumption, or is advertised or marketed as having or producing a flavor, taste, or aroma other than tobacco or menthol.” The bill would prohibit the manufacture and sale of such flavored cigarettes.

The committee also defeated several amendments:

  • an amendment by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) to postpone the bill’s enactment for three years to allow the FDA to certify that it inspects “at least 10 percent” of the national food supply, 20-28; and
  • four en bloc amendments by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) to delay enactment for three to five years, by voice vote.
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