...the House passed a landmark bill [Thursday] that
would for the first time give the federal government sweeping
authority over tobacco. Under the measure, the Food and Drug
Administration would have the power to limit the nicotine in
cigarettes, to regulate ads and to require warnings to appear
in larger print. The Senate now takes up its version...
So it has finally come to this. Cigarettes will come with a patient insert. Dosage and Administration. Warnings. Drug Interactions. Tobacco junkies will be showing up in the E.R. to try to sweet-talk some drowsy ER doc into writing a prescription. Child-proof caps on packs of cigarettes. Here's a smart business move for non-smokers: buy a stockpile of cigarettes now, because after the FDA gets hold of them the price will skyrocket and you can make a fortune selling yours on the street. Put three Marlboros in a ziplock bag and charge $20.00.
Say Phillip Morris wants to come out with a new brand. They will have to go through a 5 or 6 year FDA approval process costing at least tens of millions of dollars to get permission to market it. Sales reps will barge into doctor's offices trying to convince them to prescribe this or that brand by giving the office staff post-its and pens. Wait, I forgot: they are not allowed to give out post-its and pens any more (see my blog "Reforming Medical Ethics" posted March 7, 2009), because doctors are too morally weak, and might prescribe medications just because somebody left them a pen.
You know what the problem with Congress is? They have no cojones (Spanish for "backbone").
If tobacco use is so bad--and it is--outlaw it. They will not outlaw it because: (a) they get too much money from the tobacco lobby, (b) tobacco company employees represent too many votes, and (c) by putting a government agency in charge, it gives Congress more power. Those, unfortunately, are the bottom lines for them.