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Tobacco Regulation—Time for a Change?

April 9, 2007

Every day, an estimated 20 Oregon kids start smoking, and a third of them will die from tobacco-related diseases, but tobacco products remain some of the most unregulated in the nation. Congress is looking at changing that with a bill that would require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. Dana Kaye with the American Lung Association of Oregon says the current lack of oversight allows tobacco companies to take advantage of consumers.

"They market their products in ways that attract children or deceive consumers about the harm of their products, and there’s no way for that information to be regulated."

Opponents of the measure believe having the FDA regulate tobacco would amount to an endorsement of the product. Kaye says nicotine is a powerful drug, so the Food and Drug Administration is the logical place to regulate tobacco.She argues that tobacco shouldn’t get an exemption.

"The tobacco lobby has just been so strong that they’ve been able to keep the FDA away from their product. It’s just a safety issue that tobacco needs to be regulated just like all other food and drugs."

Dondrea Warner/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR