FDA control of tobacco approved by Senate

The Senate approved legislation last week  to give the Food and Drug Administration control over, not only the ingredients that go into tobacco products, but also marketing and advertising of such products, according to the Los Angeles Times. This ruling comes only months after Congress approved the biggest increase to the federal cigarette tax to date--62 cents--in an effort to curb smoking in the United States.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durban said this likely spells the end of iconic tobacco characters like Joe Camel. The measure passed 79-17, with all but one of those 17 being Republicans. The marketing of "light cigarettes" would also be banned under this legislation.

"This bill is the strongest anti-tobacco measure the Congress of the United States has ever passed," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. "Its breadth would have been unimaginable five years ago."

Oddly enough, it was only about two weeks ago that the New England Journal of Medicine reported several U.S., Canadian and U.K.-based insurance companies have large amounts of stock invested in tobacco companies.

"Despite calls upon the insurance industry to get out of the tobacco business by physicians and others, insurers continue to put their profits above people's health," said J. Wesley Boyd, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

For more info:
- here's the full Los Angeles Times article