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FDA to Oversee Tobacco Industry

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Washington, DCIn a move that could drastically change the tobacco industry, the US Senate has voted to give regulators new powers to oversee the industry. The smoking legislation limits nicotine in cigarettes, regulates ads that glorify smoking, and bans flavored smoking products. The new smoking regulations give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate the content, marketing and advertising of tobacco products, including cigarettes.

SmokingThe Senate vote was 79-17 in favor of allowing the new regulations, which will now be sent to the House for approval. The House previously passed a similar bill but the Senate made some minor changes to the bill.

The FDA will have the power to evaluate tobacco products and order changes to those products that are considered a danger to public health. Although the FDA could not ban nicotine or cigarettes, it could prevent companies from using flavors that often attract young smokers, including fruit and candy flavors. Although menthol flavors will not be banned immediately, the FDA could study whether to ban the flavor in the future.

Furthermore, tobacco companies would need FDA approval before marketing new products and would not be allowed to market products using words such as "light," "mild," or "low tar." In fact, according to USA Today, within a year, marketing that includes those phrases will be banned.

President Obama has said he will sign The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking kills approximately 400,000 people every year in the US. Smoking has long been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer, which prompted the US Surgeon General to warn in 1964 about the link between tobacco exposure and lung cancer. Despite that, it has reportedly taken more than a decade to get this legislation passed.



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