FDA regulation moves a step closer..

April 3, 2008 - FDA regulation moves a step closer.. The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce yesterday
completed a markup of legislation that would grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate tobacco products. By a better than an 3-to-1 margin the committee approved the bill, H.R. 1108, the ‘Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act’, by a vote of 38 to 12. The legislation will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. This legislation is long overdue. We worry that the legislation will be flawed because the biggest player in the tobacco industry - Altria - Philip Morris USA (PM) has been directly involved in writing the bill.
As Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) has pointed out, "Poison peddlers shouldn’t get to decide how we as responsible legislators fight the war against their deadly products." Mike Szymanczyk now the CEO of Altria, Inc. tells investors they are directly involved in the process. Mr. Szymanczyk - PM owes their success to the ability to connect with adult tobacco consumers through the in-store experience and the development of one-to-one relationships using their database of 25 million adult cigarette smokers (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008).

Regarding the in-store experience soon tobacco control people will want to take this aspect away and remove all tobacco promotions and keep any tobacco stock under the counter. While active in the process of writing the bill, PM has its sales force going around to c-stores demanding the majority of prime space behind the checkout counter for their products. Big 3 cigarette companies continue to compete for c-store space - the PM T-SET.. We all know the more cigarette marketing teens are exposed to in retail stores, the more likely they are to smoke, and that restricting these retail marketing practices would reduce youth smoking. Also, all the tobacco advertising in c-stores undermines attempts for adults to quit smoking. The bill has 220 backers in the House and 55 co-sponsors in the Senate, but it could face a presidential veto this year, the Wall Street Journal said. We just found out: 4/4/2008 - Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, has reportedly threatened to filibuster against the legislation. Related news briefs to the Tobacco Regulation Bill: April 1, 2008, March 28, 2008, March 13, 2008, December 7, 2007, October 5, 2007 and August 2, 2007. (TobaccoWatch.org)