Supreme Court Decision Does Not Result in Victory for Tobacco Industry

Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Media Does Not Understand Tobacco Problem
Most of you are now aware of the Supreme Court decision released Tuesday regarding FDA regulation over tobacco. National as well as local media affiliates ran headlines about a "victory for the tobacco industry." This is absolutely incorrect and further illustrates the lack of understanding the media has about this problem.

Yes, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress has not given the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco. Yet, the real loser in this decision is Big Tobacco. Please note Justice O'Connor's statement, "tobacco use, particularly among children and adolescents, poses perhaps the single most significant threat to public health in the United States."

We must look deeper to understand the intent and interpretation of the Court. The FDA has the authority to regulate drugs in this nation. The FDA looks to possible risks and benefits of these substances.

The fundamental issue is that tobacco provides no known benefit for users. This is what health educators have been saying all along. Therefore, it is a product that cannot be regulated under the existing structure of the FDA. Tobacco is the only commercial product on our shelves that has absolutely no safe application.

Even the tobacco industry's lawyers argued that if FDA regulation were allowed, the government would be forced to ban tobacco products entirely as they have not been shown to be safe. O'Connor's opinion acknowledged that the FDA has concluded that cigarettes are unsafe and dangerous. As a result, she said, federal law "would require the FDA to remove them from the market entirely." I believe total prohibition of tobacco, although one solution to this problem, would cause even greater harm to society due to the illegal markets that tobacco addicts would promulgate.

I hardly call this a victory for tobacco. Yes, it is a temporary setback for those of us dependent upon the FDA to assist the battle to protect our nation's youth. I urge you to highlight the passages delivered from our highest court as well as from the tobacco industry. Include these as tools in your arsenal helping you to battle the leading addictive and cancer-causing drug dealers in the world today.

Many thanks and keep up your hard work!

source: Scott Goold,

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