Tobacco Bill and what constitutes Smoke-Free
Sen. Kennedy has introduced his FDA tobacco bill (S. 982) and scheduled a Senate HELP Committee mark-up session on the bill beginning next Tuesday, May 12.
Please urge committee members (contact info below) to OPPOSE the bill
unless/until it is amended to protect public health instead of cigarette
Also below are Smokefree Pennsylvania's letter to committee members, a
suggested amendment, and two related news articles.
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1926 Monongahela Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
May 7, 2009
Smokefree Pennsylvania urges you to OPPOSE Senator Kennedy's FDA tobacco bill (S. 982), a privately negotiated deal by Philip Morris and the
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in 2004, because it protects the deadliest
tobacco product (cigarettes) at the expense of far less hazardous smokefree tobacco/nicotine alternatives and public health.
Instead, please SUPPORT harm reduction amendments (see suggested amendment below) to:
- inform smokers that cigarettes are more hazardous than smokefree
- let smokefree alternatives (including electronic cigarette nicotine
inhalers) remain on the market,
- encourage the industry to develop smokefree tobacco/nicotine alternatives
As drafted, the Kennedy bill protects cigarette markets at the expense of
public health because it:
- conceals the fact that cigarettes are far deadlier than smokefree
- misleads consumers to believe that smokefree products are as hazardous as cigarettes,
- bans new and recently introduced (since 2007) smokefree tobacco products,
- allows/encourages FDA to ban smokefree nicotine products including
Cigarettes are 100 times deadlier than smokeless tobacco products, while
smokefree nicotine products (e.g. electronic cigarettes) pose even fewer
risks. Switching from cigarettes to smokefree tobacco/nicotine
alternatives reduces smoker's health risks nearly as much as quitting all
tobacco/nicotine use. Millions of smokers have already sharply reduced
their health risks by switching to smokefree tobacco/nicotine alternatives.
Unfortunately, 85% of smokers inaccurately believe that smokefree tobacco products are as hazardous as cigarettes. I coauthored a report "Tobacco harm reduction: an alternative cessation strategy for inveterate smokers" at Harm Reduction Journal | Full text | Tobacco harm reduction: an alternative cessation strategy for inveterate smokers
In contrast to claims by others, the Kennedy bill also would do little to
reduce youth tobacco use (as it prohibits the FDA from banning tobacco
sales to high school seniors, and prohibits the FDA from banning tobacco
sales at stores accessible to minors). But at the very least, the bill
should be amended to help save the lives of 45 million addicted cigarette
Since 1990, Smokefree Pennsylvania has advocated policies to reduce tobacco smoke pollution indoors, increase cigarette taxes, reduce tobacco marketing to youth, preserve civil justice remedies for tobacco victims, expand smoking cessation services, and inform smokers that smokefree
tobacco/nicotine products are far less hazardous alternatives to
Thank you for your consideration, and feel free to contact me anytime.
William T. Godshall, MPH
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Suggested amendment to S. 982 to rank tobacco products according to health risks (adapted from Sec. 305 of the Burr/Hagan tobacco bill, S. 579). Please note that provisions to allow all smokefree tobacco/nicotine
products to remain on the market need to be added to this suggested
In Section 911 of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (as added by Title I),
insert "(n) ESTABLISHMENT OF RANKINGS. - "(1) STANDARD AND PROCEDURES. - Not later than 24 months after the date of
enactment of this chapter, the Sectretary shall, by regulation, after
consultation with an Advisory Committee established for such a purpose,
establish the standards and procedures for promulgating rankings,
comprehensible to consumers of tobacco products, of the following
categories of tobacco products and also nicotine-containing products on the basis of relative risks of serious or chronic tobacco-related diseases and adverse health conditions those categories of tobacco products and also nicotine-containing products respectively present in -
"(B) loose tobacco for roll-your-own tobacco products;
"(C ) little cigars;
"(E) pipe tobacco;
"(G) dry snuff;
"(H) chewing tobacco;
"(I) other forms of tobacco products, including palletized tobacco and
compressed tobacco, treated collectively as a single category; and
"(J) other nicotine-containing products, treated collectively as a single
"(2) CONSIDERATION IN PROMULGATING REGULATIONS. - In promulgating
regulation under this section, the Secretary -
"(A) shall take into account relevant epidemiologic studies and other
relevant competent and reliable scientific evidence; and
"(B) in assessing the risks of serious or chronic tobacco-related diseases
and adverse health conditions presented by a particular category, shall
consider the range of tobacco products or nicotine-containing products
within the category, and shall give appropriate weight to the market share
of the respective products in the category.
"(3) PROMULGATION OF RANKING OF CATEGORIES - Once the initial regulations required by paragraph (1) are in effect, the Secretary shall promptly, by order, after notice and an opportunity for comment, promulgate and make available to the general public rankings of the categories of tobacco products and nicotine-containing products in accordance with such regulations. The Secretary shall promulgate the initial rankings of those categories of tobacco products and nicotine-containing products and make such ranking available to the general public not later than January 1, 2012. Thereafter, on an annual basis, the Secretary shall, by order, promulgate and make available to the general public updated rankings that are (1) in accordance with those regulations, and (2) reflect the scientific evidence available at the time of promulgation. The Secretary shall open and maintain an ongoing public docket for receipt of data and other information submitted by any person with respect to such annual promulgation of rankings.
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Phone and fax numbers for Senate HELP Cmte members, and an e-mail address to contact all members of the committee.
Senate HELP Committee Phone Fax
Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) 202-224-5465 202-224-5128
Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) 202-224-2823 202-224-1083
Tom Harkin (D-IA) 202-224-3254 202-224-9369
Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) 202-224-4654 202-224-8858
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) 202-224-5521 202-224-2852
Patty Murray (D-WA) 202-224-2621 202-224-0238
Jack Reed (D-RI) 202-224-4642 202-224-4680
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 202-224-5141 202-228-0776
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) 202-224-2315 202-224-6519
Robert P Casey, Jr (D-PA) 202-224-6324 202-228-0604
Kay Hagan (D-NC) 202-224-6342 202-228-2563
Jeff Merkley (D-OR) 202-224-3753 202-228-3997
Michael Enzi (R-WY) 202-224-5375 202-224-6510
Judd Gregg (R-NH) 202-224-3324 202-224-4952
Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 202-224-4944 202-228-3398
Richard Burr (R-NC) 202-224-3154 202-228-2981
Johnny Isakson (R-GA) 202-224-3643 202-228-0724
John McCain (R-AZ) 202-224-2235 202-228-2862
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 202-224-6665 202-224-5301
Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) 202-224-5251 202-224-6331
Pat Roberts (R-KS) 202-224-4774 202-224-3514
Tom Coburn (R-OK) 202-224-5754 202-224-6008
To send an e-mail to all members firstname.lastname@example.org
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A Discovery Channel Daily Planet interview with Dr. Carl Phillips on
electronic cigarettes is at:
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Kennedy again proposes a bill to regulate the tobacco industry
By Richard Craver
May 7, 2009
The debate over whether to have federal oversight of the tobacco industry has resurfaced with the reintroduction of a bill in the U.S. Senate.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., contains few major
changes to the one he submitted last year that would put the industry under the auspices of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
That bill failed to pass the Senate because Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.,
threatened to tie up the bill with a filibuster and President Bush opposed
The bill "would stop the marketing of tobacco products to children, require
tobacco companies to list the poisons in their products and mandate larger and more effective warning labels on tobacco product packaging," said John Seffrin, the chief executive of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network.
The latest version of the Kennedy bill does not include a separate category for smoke-free tobacco as a potential harm-reduction product.
Such a provision has been sought by some anti-smoking groups that view
smoke-free products, such as moist tobacco, snus and dissolvables, as
alternatives for tobacco users who can't or won't quit.
"We continue to believe that Sen. Kennedy's bill is lacking," said Maura
Payne, a spokeswoman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
"It would impede efforts to bring potentially reduced-risk tobacco products
to market, would make it difficult for adult tobacco consumers to gain
accurate information about the comparative risks between different types of tobacco products, and would task an already overburdened FDA with taking on regulation of a product category about which it has no expertise," Payne said.
In March, Burr and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., introduced an alternative bill
for federal regulation of tobacco products that would save cigarette
companies billions of dollars over the next 10 years.
The proposed Federal Tobacco Act would create a new federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to solely regulate tobacco instead of assigning the task to the FDA.
Also in March, a key House panel approved legislation sponsored by Rep.
Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to give the FDA oversight of tobacco, a move that set the stage for likely House approval later this year.
Both bills propose paying for the new regulation by imposing "user fees" on
tobacco companies, with the largest share paid for by the nation's two
largest cigarette companies, Philip Morris and Reynolds.
Tobacco analysts said that the Burr-Hagan bill has only a slim chance of
passing both the House and Senate, though some of its provisions could be incorporated into a final version of the Waxman bill.
Bill Godshall, the executive director of SmokeFree Pennsylvania, said that
a drop-off in sponsorship for the Kennedy bill could open the door for an
amendment aimed at smoke-free products.
"While Kennedy's FDA tobacco bill last session had 59 co-sponsors, his new bill has only 40 co-sponsors, including just three Republicans," Godshall said.
"I suspect that is why Kennedy delayed the bill's introduction for more
than two weeks -- to try to get more co-sponsors and/or to get a lead
Richard Craver can be reached at 727-7376 or at email@example.com.
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