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!)


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  1. MrDo says:

    The crop that basically helped start the American colonies, will probably no longer be grown here.

    • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

      @MrDo: I weep for the economies of so many states, the paychecks of so many employees, the livelihoods of so many farmers. THANKS, GOVERNMENT!

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!: eh dramatic much?


        • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

          @Jim Topoleski: Perhaps a bit, but government regulation is never a good thing, and the economy in my state (NC) is pretty heavy on the leaf, so it WILL have an impact around here. What also got me was the smoking ban the state just passed. Tobacco Road has gone smoke-free. That should have been left to private industry.

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Hell, I say we should legalize weed, tax it, regulate it (make sure it’s all of the same quality, etc…), package it, and sell it. It’s the number one cash crop (or so I hear…) in the US, why not let the man take a cut and pay down some debt?

          • Jim Topoleski says:

            @OMG! Con Seannery!: Government regulation can be a double edged sword. Remember it was de-regulation (by the liberals and republicans) that created the environment where a lot of the financial crisis was alowed to breed.

            But in this case, where its become obvious the industry doesn’t want to police it’s self, regulation becomes mandatory.

            Dont forget it was one of the industry big-wigs that even allowed this to pass. Philip Morris was a big backer of this version of the bill.

            • greenunicorns says:

              @Jim Topoleski:

              Ya know… I’ll be the first to admit that I have a fear of excessive government intervention in places where it previously did not exist. My initial thought is “Oh no, will the gov’t get too heavy-handed in its regulation?” and usually my next thought is, “jayzus why can’t anybody see what a slippery slope we’re on!?”

              But um. Isn’t this just the government saying, “dear tobacco industry, tell the consumers what you’re putting in the product you’re giving them.” ??

              If that’s the case, then I have to say it’s about damn time. For a product that was once touted as “good for you”, and is now linked to severe health problems, I don’t think it’s too much to ask, “what’s in it?”

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!: Know what would fix this?


        But that would involve something vaguely like the ebil, ebil pot.

        (Jimmy Carter also pushes a fast-growing tree crop that grows well on tobacco land, sells for high prices, and is pretty environmentally friendly. But it’s hard to convince tobacco farmers to go to trees and the market for the product is still maturing.)

        • Robobot says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I’m not sure how reliable the sources are, but I have read on several occasions that the Jamestown settlers grew marijuana/hemp crops. Virginia’s economy might be largely based on tobacco these days, but before we got wind of that we were well aware of the green stuff. Funny how history works.

          (Fun fact: According to NORML’s statistics marijuana is still Virginia’s number one cash crop.)

          • Jim Topoleski says:

            @Robobot: Very reliable. Its well know even Washinton had more marijuana plots than tobacco directly because of hemp.

            Marijuana did not become this big bad crop until last century where it ban was directly related to racial concerns and not medical science.

            They claimed it made blacks and Mexicans go crazy and turn into rapists.

    • Tim says:

      @MrDo: Slaves also helped start the American colonies … actually, had a much bigger role than tobacco. You don’t see me crying that slavery is over.

      • Skankingmike says:

        @TCama: Not really, slaves were brought over to help with rice crops it wasn’t until cotton in the south much later on did slave trade really hit peaks in America.

        Now if you want to talk about Caribbean that’s a different story.

  2. bobpence says:

    Unintended consequences in 3.. 2..

  3. rachmaninov1 says:

    Such a laughably transparent anti-consumer regulatory capture!

  4. TheFlamingoKing says:

    Also, if the bill looks more like the Senate version than the House version, cigarette manufacturers will be allowed to write language on packages similar to:

    “This tobacco product is regulated, inspected and approved by the Food and Drug Administration”

    That’s hilarious! Even more funny to me is that the House version wants to strip this out – so they want the FDA to regulate, inspect and approve the tobacco products but they’re not allowed to say they’re regulated, inspected and approved because we wouldn’t want people to think they’re safe…

    Just asinine, the whole way around.

  5. Vanilla5 says:

    Would this include shisha – for use in hookahs? It’s a flavored tobacco but doesn’t seem to have all that other crap in it like cigarettes do.

    • korin43 says:

      @Vanilla5: From what I’ve heard, smoking hookah is just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. It just doesn’t feel as harsh because you also have water in the smoke.

  6. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i wonder what will happen to imported cigarettes – i smoke cloves.

  7. CumaeanSibyl says:

    So what are they going to call “light” cigarettes now? Are they just going to stop making them because some people will insist on believing that different composition/filtration equals a safer cigarette no matter what you tell them? And does “flavored” include menthols?

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @CumaeanSibyl: Back when I smoked, I had to ‘light’ them all [rimshot]…

      In as much as people will believe anything, anyone with half a brain should know by now that ‘light’ cigarettes are not less harmful.

      Just a fun fact for those who didn’t know: most menthol cigarettes are flavored by the menthol being impregnated on the inside of the foil wrapper.

    • etla says:

      @CumaeanSibyl: They’ve had this no lights ban in Canada for a while. Each producer has their own code word. Du Maurier for example calls it’s light versions Distinct.

  8. Shoelace says:

    Excellent if they actually reduce advertising to young people, but without new young addicts they’ll go out of business. Tobacco companies will find a way to circumvent this.

    Limiting the nicotine will create new addicts more slowly, but existing smokers will have to buy more cigarettes in order to get their proper fix. More $$s to the tobacco companies.

    • MikeHerbst says:

      Limiting the nicotine will create new addicts more slowly, but existing smokers will have to buy more cigarettes in order to get their proper fix. More $$s to the tobacco companies.

      Interesting point. Maybe that’s why they supported this, so now they can blame the “need” for smokers to have to buy more deathsticks on the fact that the government forced them to change (all the while, charging just as much per pack for the new half-strength nicotine delivery system).

      • Shoelace says:

        @MikeHerbst: The existing smokers will then have more negative effects from other ‘ingredients’ in the deathsticks; e.g. tar, since they’re smoking more of them. The tobacco companies, already forced to contribute huge amounts of healthcare $$$$s, will balk at paying – claiming some of the health problems aren’t their fault.

    • johnva says:

      @Shoelace: I’ve always wondered why the government didn’t just force them to reduce the nicotine content down to almost nothing. I bet that could be done relatively easily with modern genetic engineering.

      • HRHKingFridayXX says:

        @johnva: They’ve threatened to eliminate nicotine for some time now (what with it being the addictive ingredient). Some say the bill yesterday was a compromise from Phillip Morris et al so that it wouldn’t be eliminated.

        Really though, could you imagine the riots and black market that would result from taking out nicotine?

  9. H3ion says:

    Anyone I know who smoke so-called “light” cigarettes wind up smoking more to get the same nicotine level. Someone (it might have been the FDA) referred to cigarettes as a nicotine delivery device. That’s all it really is.

    Next they’ll regulate the number of hops in a bottle of beer.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @H3ion: Actually the “light” ban came from research that showed “light” cigarettes had the same amount of crap in it.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @H3ion: Germany and the US already do regulate the amount of hops. Cant call a beer a beer unless it contained a certain amount.

    • youbastid says:

      @H3ion: It has a lot to do with the fact that “lights” are mostly called that because there are extra holes poked around the filter, so the smoker inhales more air with the smoke, and thus lower amounts of tar and nicotine. However, the holes are strategically placed where a smoker would usually hold the cigarette so much of the “benefit” is lost.

    • pop top says:

      @H3ion: Well, since the tar in cigarettes causes cancer and the hops in beer doesn’t (and also has nothing to do with the alcohol content), I don’t think the two will be regulated the same way.

  10. Corporate_guy says:

    “FDA will now need to know and approve all ingredients in tobacco products.”

    I wonder if they will approve all the poison additives.

  11. I Love New Jersey says:

    Brilliant political move – piss off people with big pockets. Keep at it.

  12. The_Red_Monkey says:

    I enjoy cigars on a fairly regular basis. I like how they are taking a higher interest in the health aspects of our smokes then of fast food or processed food.

    Look around and see what is a bigger problem, smoking or obesity and get back to me.

    Besides don’t we have more important things to worry about right now then if I smoke stogies or not?

    • bennilynn says:

      @The_Red_Monkey: True, but I don’t have to deal with second-hand weight gain from the guy next to me eating a Big Mac.

      Besides, inroads are being made into regulating the ‘bad foods’ industries – it just seems to be happening more at a state and local level, rather than a Federal one.

    • Andrey Goder says:

      @The_Red_Monkey: Hilarious. Smoking is a much bigger problem. Obesity has negligible long-term health impact (when controlling for other factors) while smoking cuts ~8 years off your life.

  13. GC says:

    Die, big tobacco. Die die die..

  14. MooseOfReason says:

    The government will not give up one of its largest revenue streams.

    Of course, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see some hypocrisy come out of Washington, DC.

  15. Thaddeus says:

    As long as they stay away from the beer and liquor we’re ok.

  16. slim150 says:

    Don’t you feel like the politicians were handcuffed to pass this. Even if they didnt want to. For their political future i mean.

    Or else their next opponent will have ads such as “___ voted NO against regulating the tobacco industry…think of the children!”

  17. madanthony says:

    Guess I should stock up on Swisher Sweets cherry before they are illegal.

  18. FrugalFreak says:

    pretty soon, this government will be a dictatorship. I hope I die soon rather than spend another 35 to 50 years with these busybodies.

  19. du2vye says:

    Bogus. The FDA just added a new prescription (and 2,000% markup) for someone.

  20. MightyCow says:

    So no more menthols? Somebody’s gonna be pissed.

  21. DrRonster says:

    There is a simple solution to curing the social security deficits in the future. Eliminate all taxes on tobacco products for anyone over age 70 or anyone collecting social security benefits. There may be a short term increase but similar to the automotive buyouts of employees, this would result in a tremendous reduction of the populace collecting benefits.

  22. ct_price says:

    I do believe that regulation will also make it easier to raise the price on cigarettes. Any industry that is regulated has to jump through hoops and spend money to be compliant with the administrative wishes of the FDA. So they can effectively help to raise the costs of cigarettes without going back to Congress every time for a bill that taxes them. Increased cost = increased price = less smokers.

    It would also allow an important group to be a constant guest at hearings – FDA officials. So long as they are not paid for these folks will be effective witnesses to Congress on why cigarettes are bad which should allow the government to effectively return to the tax well to increasingly raise the “tobacco user fee” to fund more and more. Once people know your hooked and know you will pay more for your vice they will tax you til it hurts.

    Once the FDA hooks are in it is very hard to tear them out. Smoking as we know it will likely change forever and the bill I believe allows the regulation of tobacco products so no loopholing with smokeless tobacco/snuff, etc. Those things would fall under FDA purview. Score one for the children who won’t be victims of this self-destroying killer.

    And if you didn’t notice, the tobacco companies actually raised the prices months before the $.64 SCHIP-funding taxes became active. Nice of them to raise prices on you twice…figuring you would be stocking up to save money and they would not want to miss out on those profits.

  23. sanjsrik says:

    um, this is BS. NOW the tobacco companies are no longer culpable for cancer or anyone being addicted. Of course the tobacco companies are FOR this. Now, tobacco is a drug, therefore they’re not responsible for anything. Who, then, is going to be sued for adding all those chemicals to tobacco? The taxpayer. So, now, we’re going to be suing ourselves.

  24. sanjsrik says:

    Oh, and this is the same FDA that can’t seem to prevent ANY outbreaks of salmonella that happen.

    Lots of trust there.

  25. Anthony Rinaldi says:

    More regulation? Awesome! I was thinking the government had too little power. I’m glad they have the time to worry about smoking. Nothing else is going on anyway…North Korewho? IraWhat? Stay distracted America your government is in control.

  26. Kevin says:

    What does this mean for pipe tobacco?

  27. krispykrink says:

    A recent study from the eurozone showed that graphic warnings on cigarette packs increases consumption. So, in a clear message from Congress they’re saying we need to smoke more. This makes perfect sense considering Philip Morris supports this bill, and major health insurance company’s hold large shares of their stock.