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WASHINGTON -- New legislation that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products is expected to be introduced today in Washington by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and other politicians.
Details of Kennedy's "Youth Smoking Prevention and Public Health Protection Act" weren't available yesterday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. Retailers have expressed concern over the FDA's attempts to regulate tobacco since 1998, when the group first tried to exert its authority over tobacco products.
FDA officials claim nicotine is a drug and should be regulated as a controlled substance.
Early last year a tobacco commission appointed by former President Clinton issued a final report endorsing FDA regulation of tobacco and a $15-billion federal buyout of the tobacco quota price-support system that would be paid for by new cigarette taxes.
Among major tobacco companies, Philip Morris Cos. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. hold sharply different views on whether FDA regulation is acceptable. Philip Morris has said it would support some form of regulation over tobacco as long as it has a say in just what that regulation is. RJR has vehemently opposed any sort of regulation.