House Committee Approves FDA Regulation of Tobacco

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Thursday completed a markup of legislation that would grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products, the Committee reported on its Web site.

The Committee approved the bill, H.R. 1108, the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” with bipartisan support by a vote of 38 to 12.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, authored the legislation.

"Today we have taken an important and long overdue step toward protecting our children and the public health,” said Waxman. “We passed this legislation with bipartisan support. The adjustments made in the legislation during the mark-up process have addressed many of the concerns that were raised with the bill. We now have a product that can and should move forward expeditiously.”

“Tobacco has never been, and should never be, a partisan issue,” Waxman said. “I believe most Members of Congress share my desire to pass meaningful and truly effective tobacco legislation to reduce youth smoking and I am optimistic about the chances of the legislation become law this year."

H.R. 1108 would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for the regulation of tobacco products by the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the FDA. The legislation would provide the FDA with resources to fulfill new responsibilities by requiring manufacturers and importers of tobacco to pay user fees to fund FDA’s new responsibilities. H.R. 1108 would also:

* Subject new tobacco products to premarket review
* Allow the Secretary to require prior approval of all label statements
* Allow the Secretary to restrict the sale or distribution of tobacco products, including advertising and promotion
* Allow the Secretary to take specified actions, including public notification and recall, against unreasonably harmful products
* Require the Secretary to establish tobacco product standards to protect the public health
* Set forth standards for the sale of modified risk tobacco products
* Prohibit cigarettes from containing any artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol)
* Reinstate FDA’s 1996 Rule, which restricted tobacco marketing and sales to youth
* Require the Secretary to establish a Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee
* Amend the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act to change cigarette warning labels and advertising requirements. The legislation also makes changes to smokeless tobacco warning labels and advertising requirements.

The U.S. House of Representatives must now consider the legislation.

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