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Is Tobacco Oversight Bad For FDA’s Health?

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

The likelihood of Congress handing FDA responsibility for regulating tobacco has ignited debate over whether the new purview would distract an already struggling agency from its mission

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Capitol Hill Briefs

Congress passes FDA tobacco bill: President Obama is expected to sign into law legislation authorizing FDA to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1256) creates a Center for Tobacco Products within FDA, funded by a user fee on tobacco companies (1"The Gray Sheet" March 9, 2009, p. 3). The measure passed the Senate in a 79-17 vote June 11, and an identical version was approved by the House the next day. The Congressional Budget Office anticipates that the act will lower national health care spending for certain medical conditions as smoking declines, but also that government spending in certain other areas will rise as people live longer. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cast the legislation as part of the administration's larger health care reform effort, calling it "a key part of our plans to cut health care costs" and a "critical piece of a coordinated effort to save lives, lower costs and reduce suffering from heart disease, cancer and other tobacco-related illness.

Capitol Hill Briefs

Congress passes FDA tobacco bill: President Obama is expected to sign into law legislation authorizing FDA to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1256) creates a Center for Tobacco Products within FDA, funded by a user fee on tobacco companies (1"The Gray Sheet" March 9, 2009, p. 3). The measure passed the Senate in a 79-17 vote June 11, and an identical version was approved by the House the next day. The Congressional Budget Office anticipates that the act will lower national health care spending for certain medical conditions as smoking declines, but also that government spending in certain other areas will rise as people live longer. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cast the legislation as part of the administration's larger health care reform effort, calling it "a key part of our plans to cut health care costs" and a "critical piece of a coordinated effort to save lives, lower costs and reduce suffering from heart disease, cancer and other tobacco-related illness.

FDA Tobacco Authority Likely, But Foes Say Agency Will Suffer

FDA regulation of tobacco appears imminent, with a bill requiring the change headed to the Senate floor

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