Bush administration opposes legislation to give FDA authoritiy to regulate tobacco products..

July 23, 2008 - Bush administration strongly opposes legislation to give federal health authorities the power to regulate tobacco products. This opposition was expressed in a July 21, 2008 letter to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas from Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services. Barton is the senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which approved the bill on a lopsided 38-12 vote in April. At the time, 11 Republicans on the panel voted in favor of the legislation.

The letter is the strongest indication yet that the administration will try to block the broadly popular legislation, which is supported by majorities in both chambers, and lists both presidential contenders among its co-sponsors. Leavitt said in the letter that giving a public health agency like the FDA jurisdiction over tobacco products would send the wrong message. "Unlike the medical products FDA regulates, tobacco products cannot be made safe, and there is no medically established public health benefit associated with tobacco," he wrote. "Adding tobacco to FDA's regulatory responsibilities could also leave the public with the misperception that tobacco products are safe, or at least safer, with the FDA regulating them." Bush administration opposes tobacco regulation" by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer 7/22/2008.

The Bush administration opinion is similar to that of Dr. Alan Blum - a family medicine doc, director of the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society. (Look for the section entitled, "The Marlboro Journal of Medicine" (6/24/2007) - make sure you look at the cartoon Dr. Blum put together with Matt Bors.)

We have we felt this 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. brags to investors they are directly involved in the legislation (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008)

Many more news briefs on this subject of FDA tobacco regulation - use the random search capability to locate. (TobaccoWatch.org)