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Jun-14-2009 12:12printcomments

Oregon’s Merkley Strengthens Tobacco Control Bill (AUDIO)

One of the Senate additions to the bill is an amendment by Senator Jeff Merkley to include FDA oversight of the newest, dissolvable tobacco products packaged to look like mints or candy.

Lighting a smoke

(PORTLAND, Ore. ONS) - It's being called the strongest anti-tobacco measure since the U.S. Surgeon General ruled more than 40 years ago that smoking causes lung cancer.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted to allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco. The House already passed a similar bill, and must now vote on the Senate's changes.

Both Oregon Senators voted in favor of the bill, and Dana Kaye, executive director of the American Lung Association's Oregon Chapter, says it doesn't look like the strong tobacco lobby can stop the momentum at this point.

"As we've seen in the past, we don't ever want to take the tobacco industry for granted. They always think they're bigger than everybody else, but my opinion is that this bill has had such broad, bipartisan support that it's a done deal."

Rising health care costs made the difference this year, says Kaye, adding tobacco-related illnesses cost more than $2 billion a year in Oregon.

"That is nearly $600 per every household in Oregon. The thing that's really important to consider is, it's not just a cost to the folks that are smoking; it's a cost to every Oregonian, across the board."

One of the Senate additions to the bill is an amendment by Senator Jeff Merkley to include FDA oversight of the newest, dissolvable tobacco products packaged to look like mints or candy.

The House is expected to take up the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act again today, and it could be on President Obama's desk by next week.

Opponents say the FDA is already swamped, and not the right place for tobacco oversight. Others have argued that it's the only appropriate agency for the job because of its consumer protection and food safety roles.


Special thanks to Oregon News Service
Producer/Reporter: Chris Thomas


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Henry Ruark June 15, 2009 11:16 am (Pacific time)

dude: Yrs offensive to any and all of us facing approaching death by legal poison-product allowed to proliferate via seductive advertising and the aversion of regulators to any possible control despite long proven record of millions addicted and many massaged unto death. My resentment arised towards your proven insensitivity by fact of impacts on my own family and myself; I quit early, on first indication of symptoms. Byt youngest (of 4) sons was not so fortunate, and now is paying deathly consequeces. I can only hope someone dear to you has the same results, so you may then have some small twinge of consciousness and conscience, albeit very unlikely given the rapacious ring of your words here.

dude June 14, 2009 1:42 pm (Pacific time)

If they're so smart, what ELSE causes lung cancer? because I see it occur frequently in female NONsmokers. What about all these other cancer cases people (non-smokers)are so frequently coming down with?

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