Common sense regulation on tobacco

The Tobacco control act is nothing less than common sense regulation.

Federal officials have finally been given the ability to regulate the largely unregulated business of tobacco, including cigarettes. The Senate recently approved the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which will give the Food and Drug Administration the right to impose strict new controls on the making and marketing of tobacco products. ThereâÄôs certainly going to be disagreement over whether this law crusades against tobacco usersâÄô right to consume it, but it will finally treat tobacco like any other consumer good under the FDA. Tobacco has always been exempt from other basic consumer protections like ingredient disclosure and product testing. It doesnâÄôt seem unreasonable that tobacco products be regulated under the âÄúsafe and effectiveâÄù standard that exists for other products. Empowering the FDA to protect impressionable youth from predatory marketing campaigns is acceptable; the law consistently believes that the youth are not old enough to be aware of the consequences of their actions. There are limits to what good parenting can do, and in this case parents need help. The law will have a huge impact on reducing teen smoking, while having only a negligible impact on adult smokers. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 2 percent of adult smokers will leave smoking over the next decade as a result of this legislation. Although some of the restrictions to advertising that are in this bill, like prohibiting ads near schools and playgrounds, seem geared more toward selling the bill, others will have an enormous impact. For instance, gravely misleading words like âÄúlow tarâÄù and âÄúlightâÄù are to be banned from use. Congress has done well over the past several weeks creating new laws that aid consumers without being unfair to business. In this case, tobacco will lose its privileged position as an atypical consumer good, free from common-sense regulation. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Indiana Daily Student at Indiana University. Please send comments to [email protected]