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A bill cleared the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that would allow the FDA to regulate tobacco products.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and co-sponsored by 52 other members of the Senate, would allow the FDA to place restrictions on advertisements, prevent cigarette sales to minors, require stronger warning labels, and sets standards by which tobacco company’s representations about their products could be judged. The costs of FDA’s supervisory role would be funded by the tobacco companies, at an estimate annual cost of $450 million, or about 2.5 cents per pack.

Criticis believe that an already overburdened FDA could not possibly take on the additional responsibility of policing the tobacco companies.

“I don’t believe that the FDA can take on this added responsibility when it can’t do all the things it needs to do now,” said Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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