Een voorstel om tabaksproducten onder controle te brengen van de Food and Drug Administration is gisteren in het Amerikaanse congres gesneuveld. FDA controle over tabak zou het product gelijk gesteld hebben met soft drugs of medicijnen en de overheidscontrole op de productie en handel onder strenge regels hebben geplaatst.
Dat is een grote tegenvaller voor de anti-tabakslobby maar ook voor Philip Morris dat zich, vreemd genoeg, altijd hiervoor uitgesproken heeft. Welke geheime agenda achter deze opstelling van Philip Morris huist is niet officieel bekend.
In a major setback for public health groups, congressional tax negotiators on Tuesday blocked a plan to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco, but a $10 billion package for tobacco farmers was set to be approved.
Senators supported inclusion of the FDA measure in a massive corporate tax bill but House Republicans blocked them.
Negotiators were not able to wrap up work on Tuesday and some anti-tobacco lawmakers said they would attempt to strike or modify tobacco provisions again on Wednesday. But statements by several negotiators suggested the odds were against them.
The tobacco industry has been divided on FDA legislation, with Altria Group Inc. (MO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , the parent company of Marlboro-maker Philip Morris, supporting it and other key tobacco companies including Reynolds American Inc.’s (RAI.N: Quote, Profile, Research) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit opposing it.
The House-Senate compromise package must still be approved by the full House and Senate and a few anti-smoking senators have vowed to try to stop the tax bill in the Senate unless it has the FDA language in it.
If the bill “contains a tobacco buyout for farmers but does not include the FDA provisions, it will seriously jeopardize passage,” Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy said. “We cannot in good conscience allow the federal agency most responsible for protecting the public health to remain powerless to deal with the enormous health risks of cigarettes.”