Oberstar: Tobacco Regulation Started in MN 8th District
Washington DC – Historic legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a wide bipartisan margin (307-97), and is now on the way to President Obama to be signed into law.
Congressman Jim Oberstar said the effort was started by Minnesota 8th District Congressman John Blatnik back in 1957. Oberstar then read from hearings Blatnik held that year on the dangers of smoking. “It is long past time, many millions of deaths later, for Congress to act decisively in the public interest,” Oberstar said.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1256) allows the FDA to develop restrictions on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products. The bill also requires tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in each product and gives the FDA the power to demand changes to those ingredients. Additionally, the bill requires more specific health warnings and reinstates the 1996 rule restricting the marketing of tobacco products to youth.
“I consider this legislation to be an important step towards health care reform,” said Oberstar. “When we address the issue of affordable health care, we will be concentrating on preventing illness; there is no more effective way to do that than to keep young people from smoking.”
The bipartisan bill is supported by more than 1,000 organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Phillip Morris USA, the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, as well as six small tobacco product manufacturers, have also come out in support of the legislation.