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Taking another stab at tobacco regulation

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Feb 15, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: The new Congress is trying to revive a few bills that failed miserably in the past. One of them would allow the federal government to regulate tobacco as a drug. A group of Democrats and Republicans put that bill back on the table today. Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Anti-smoking groups have long pushed to give the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products.

Under the new bill, the FDA could rein in tobacco advertising, strengthen warning labels and lower the level of nicotine in cigarettes.

Richard Daynard of the Public Health Advocacy Institute says a few tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris, favor the legislation because it could help them make their case to juries, suspicious of the tobacco industry.

RICHARD DAYNARD: Look ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you don’t have to worry about our doing bad things because we are regulated and we can’t do bad things anymore. It may help them at least reduce the punitive damages awards that juries are inclined to give when they hear about their behavior.

But other cigarette manufactures, such as RJ Reynolds, have vigorously fought this type of legislation in the past.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

JAGOW: RJ Reynolds just happens to have a new cigarette aimed at women. It’s called Camel No. 9.

Women don’t buy Camels as much as they buy competing brands, so RJ Reynolds came up with a name that certainly evokes fragrances. Think Channel or love potions. . .

[ Music: Love Potion No. 9 ]

The company says the number 9 is meant to suggest “dressed to the nines, wearing your best.”

A spokeswoman for one anti-smoking group points out: Way more women die of lung cancer than breast cancer.

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