Tri States Public Radio Staff
Mon June 22, 2009
New Anti-Tobacco Powers for FDA
Galesburg, IL & Washington, DC – A law signed by President Obama gives the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented power to regulate the tobacco industry. Obama considers it an extraordinary accomplishment that will help keep children from getting hooked on cigarettes.
The measure is called the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1256). It's a big step for anti-smoking advocates, but Greg Emken does not think increased governmental power is a good thing. "Too few people are controlling too many things, and it's frightening to me," says Emken.
Emken is a smoker and the owner of the One Stop Smoke Shop in Galesburg. He says he would not be opposed to a law to standardize tobacco regulations across the country, but does not think that's what this law is about.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will ban the use of fruit and candy flavors in cigarettes. Emken does not worry about this ban effecting his business.
"There's always going to be a market, there's always going to be a consumer that wants a product, and if they can't get cherry, well then they might buy regular," says Emken.
The law will also require tobacco companies to reveal all product ingredients and will require FDA approval for new tobacco products. It will prohibit the use of expressions such as "light" and "ultra-light."
The FDA will also be allowed to change the content of tobacco products to protect the health of the public, but the FDA will not be allowed to ban nicotine or tobacco products.
Standing in the Rose Garden with a number of lawmakers and other guests, Obama declared: "It is a law that will save American lives."