House Passes Bill to Give FDA Regulatory Authority Over Tobacco

On July 30, the House of Representatives, by an overwhelming majority, approved legislation granting the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products (H.R. 1108).

On July 30, the House of Representatives, by an overwhelming majority, approved legislation granting the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products (H.R. 1108). The vote, by a clear veto-proof margin of 326 to 102, underscores the broad, bipartisan support for this legislation and provides powerful momentum for enacting it into law this year. The public health community is optimistic that the Senate will seize the opportunity to pass this bill when it returns from recess in September. With 57 sponsors and several other senators who have committed to it, it is possible that the chamber has the votes to approve the legislation. Some of the President’s advisors, however, have said they would recommend a veto.

The legislation would grant the FDA authority to:

  • Impose specific restrictions on tobacco marketing and sales to children;

  • Require tobacco companies to disclose the contents of tobacco products, changes to their products and research about the health effects of their products;

  • Require changes in tobacco products, such as the reduction or removal of harmful ingredients and the reduction of nicotine to non-addictive levels;

  • Ban candy-flavored cigarettes;

  • Require larger, more effective health warnings on tobacco products and advertising;

  • Prohibit misleading terms such as “low-tar,” “light” and “mild.”

In April of 2007, Science GRO sent an action alert to APA advocates living in districts of Energy and Commerce Committee members, the committee with jurisdiction over the bill. The alert urged them to email their congressperson and ask them to support the bill. APA has also made phone calls to all committee member offices and signed on to various letters to try to move this legislation forward. All of our work has been in collaboration with the tremendous leadership of the Partnership for Effective Tobacco Policy, a coalition of which we are a member.