The Senate has approved FDA regulation of tobacco. No more “low tar” labels or flavored tobacco, and the FDA will now need to know and approve all ingredients in tobacco products. It is likely to pass the House, and President Obama plans to sign the bill. [MSNBC] (Thanks, Greg!)
The New York Times is reporting that Richard M. Burr, the “tobacco-state senator who tried a filibuster this week against a bill that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the cigarette industry” has apparently given up, clearing the way for the bill to pass the Senate. A similar bill has already passed the House and Obama says he will sign the legislation.
Major health insurance companies own nearly $4.5 billion worth of stock in tobacco companies, according to a Harvard University study. It kinda makes sense: health insurers know tobacco sickens people, and so as long as people are smoking, why not profit from the killer? It’s what David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study, calls “the combined taxidermist and veterinarian approach: either way you get your dog back.”
Cigarette companies have conspired for decades to defraud and mislead the public about the health risks of “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes, a federal appeals court said yesterday. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a federal district judge was right to ban the terms from appearing on cigarette packages. Under the ruling, cigarette companies may soon be required to issue a public mea culpa admitting that they were killing people when they said cigarettes were safe and non-addictive.
The House this week voted to empower the FDA to regulate tobacco, just in case people still smoke even after new taxes push the cost of cigarettes to over $9 per pack and the recession bankrupts everyone. Under the measure, which passed 298-112, the FDA would be able to set nicotine levels, control cigarette advertising, and require companies to provide a full list of cigarette ingredients. As usual, the killjoys in the Senate may force the House to smoke a light version of the cigarette bill…
Smokers around the country are freaking out as a huge federal cigarette tax increase goes into effect.
Man, cigarettes were awesome in the past, if these old ads collected by Stanford University are to be believed. They calmed your nerves so you’d stop humming nervously! They soothed your throat! They made you a movie star and helped you capture animals on your big game hunt! We don’t know what tobacco was made of before the mid-80s, but no wonder everyone smoked.
Sorry, light cigarette smokers! The Second Circuit denied you class-action status in your suit against the tobacco companies. A district court judge had held that “virtually all Americans who had purchased cigarettes labeled as ‘light’” could be part of the class. The appellate court laughed at this broad certification, saying it would not “reduce the range of issues in dispute and promote judicial economy.” [Consumer Law & Policy Blog]
CT scanning, a promising approach to detecting lung cancer at early, treatable stages, has been dealt a setback with the revelation that the most prominent study so far in support of it was funded almost entirely by a cigarette company—with the funds funneled through a foundation set up by the study’s author, Dr. Claudia Henschke, reports the New York Times. Although the funding revelation doesn’t negate the results of the study, it raises huge conflict of interest flags and reveals how a tobacco company secretly influenced professional opinion by funneling $3.6 million into the foundation over a three year period.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee voted 13-8 to empower the FDA to regulate tobacco products. States and municipalities have spent years shoving cigarettes out of the public domain, but the FDA would be able to control cigarette advertising, mandate bigger, European-style warning labels, and regulate nicotine content. Only Congress has the power to ban cigarettes outright. From the Boston Globe:
Yesterday’s slim majority however, came as Republican-sponsored amendments loom that could gut the bill’s main intent.
Sorry smokers, the federal cigarette tax will soon be $1 per pack, a 61 cent increase, if the Senate Finance Committee has its way. Both chambers of Congress agree that a higher tax is needed to help finance an expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. From the Times-News Online:
Here’s five thing about nicotine’s addictiveness and the industry’s underlying motives that tobacco companies probably wish they never said. Not like they’re a shock or anything, it’s just that they’re there, in print, in court documents. Blamo.
In Clue to Addiction, Brain Injury Halts Smoking [NYT]
NPR has an interesting report on The Harvard School of Public Health’s findings that nicotine levels in cigarettes are rising, despite tobacco companies’ promise not to work to increase the levels of the addictive substance in their products.
Is the minty freshness of menthol cigarettes more addicting than regular cigarettes?
A cigarette ad for Parisienne by David Lynch. “Parisienne People,” the ad campaign claims. In this case, Parisienne People are apparently nightmarish, slow-motion ghouls who drink muddy water from the ground and can make thousands of sausages fly into the air. Now that makes me want a nice, mild smoke.
A King Soopers at at East Ninth Avenue and Corona Street in Denver got a little bad press this week after reports emerged that it was upselling at the checkout line. What was the product cashiers were asking with their groceries? Not Mentos, Soaps Today or batteries, but cancer sticks. That’s right, cigarettes.