Oddly enough, it appears the FDA was initially opposed to regulating tobacco, stating that it was “ill-equipped” to regulate such products
(naturalnews). The position held was that the FDA’s role was/is to regulate products “beneficial to public health” (yeah, like taking natural
supplements off the markets…sorry, wrong thread…). This act, however, forces the FDA to regulate products which are damaging to public health, and
in a sense “approve” them.
Now, let’s back up just a bit…
From what I’ve researched thus far, it appears the FDA bill was the brainstorm of Phillip Morris Company (and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids')
and actually began in the mid-1990s. Anne Landman writes: “PM's efforts to both weaken the tobacco control community and pass FDA legislation
slanted in its favor started in the mid-1990s. A 1995 PM report titled simply "Mission," states that "Because some form of [legislated] restriction
is inevitable, it's better to shape the agenda than to stand pat and fight" (prwatch 6351).
In 1998, however, PM spent $100 million stopping McCain sponsored legislation. Now, PM is mandated to increase profits for shareholder, and of course,
will oppose – or support – legislation relative to that end. It’s probably safe to say that McCain’s legislation was likely not to same as
what PM was in the process of drafting; especially considering that within months PM flipped its position....
Samuel Loewenberg writes: “Philip Morris actually began its campaign to get an FDA stamp of approval right after the Bush administration took office
(1999)…. Philip Morris tried to get the administration to sponsor an FDA bill, but Bush advisers decided the president should …avoid a messy
tobacco fight” (slate). This 2002 also article discusses some business reasons why PM was pushing for regulation (one being the market advantage of
a FDA “stamp of approval” for an industry with questionable future profits).
In 2001 PM approached the National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) for input in formulating its “preferred FDA regulations” (prwatch 6351).
Soon CTFK began “stumping” with PM to get the bill passed. Landman notes that “no other public health entities with exceptional experience in
tobacco control were asked to participate in formulating the proposed regulations.” This includes current or former Surgeons General, the American
Association of Public Health Physicians, prominent public health advocates, the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, the state Groups to Alleviate Smoking
Pollution (GASPs), tobacco control experts....
Interestingly, the Altria Group (PM’s parent company) lobbyists “circulated summaries of the bill to Congressmembers prior to the bill's actual
introduction, indicating the company had knowledge of the actual text of the bill before it was publicly introduced” (sourcewatch). This site
includes a link to the full text of the bill, relative PM documents (including information on PM’s 1997 “Regulatory Strategy Project”), and a
short summary of the “180-degree change” on PM’s opposition to regulation.
It’s also interesting to note that, according to Siegel (tobaccoanalysis), this recent flavored cigarette ban doesn’t not affect a “single
product produced by Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, or Lorillard” (the three largest tobacco companies). Siegel also asserts the Campaign for
Tobacco-Free Kids' and other anti-smoking groups mislead constituents with propaganda.
So, it appears that once again, true to form, congress and the FDA have acted in the best interest of those who pay them best, corporate CEOs.