New push to regulate Big Tobacco


Doug Krizner: Cigarette smoke contains some 4,000 chemicals — more than 40 are known to cause cancer, but the tobacco industry's very lightly regulated.

Today a Senate committee will consider giving the FDA the power to oversee the industry. The committee's taking up a bill introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy. Jeff Tyler reports.

Jeff Tyler: The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration the power to restrict tobacco advertising, mandate stronger warning labels, contest dubious health claims and order the removal of dangerous ingredients from cigarettes.

Derek Scholes: This bill is entirely funded by a user fee that will be paid by the tobacco companies. It would be between two or three cents' increase on the average price of a pack of cigarettes.

That's Derek Scholes with the American Heart Association, which supports the legislation. He says the FDA has what it takes.

It's the only agency that has the appropriate scientific expertise, and the regulatory experience, and the consumer-protection mandate to do this job.

At least one former commissioner at the FDA disagrees. Dr. Mark McClellan says the agency lacks the manpower and resources to handle all its current responsibilities.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.


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