Merkley: Senate Tobacco Regulation Bill A Breakthrough For Public Health

D.C. –
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley joined a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate
in passing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products
for the first time. 

“Over the
course of the summer, the Senate will be engaged in a serious discussion about
health care reform and I think it’s a promising sign that we can come together,
on a bipartisan basis, to support legislation that keeps our children and
families healthier,” said Merkley.

legislation includes an amendment authored by Senator Merkley and Senator Sherrod
Brown (D-Ohio) that requires the newly-created Tobacco Products Scientific
Advisory Committee to immediately study the public health effects of
dissolvable tobacco candy products and report its findings to the Food and Drug
Administration.  These tobacco candy products include Camel Orbs, shaped
like Pez candies; Strips, similar to breath strips that dissolve on the tongue;
and Sticks, similar in shape to toothpicks.

“This bill
specifically addresses a new genre of dangerous tobacco products that are being
marketed to our children: tobacco candy.  In response to a drop in the
number of cigarette smokers and new laws limiting smoking in public, Big
Tobacco has resorted to outrageous tactics to hook a new generation of our
children on tobacco,” said Merkley.  “The tobacco companies are trying to
portray new dissolvable tobacco products as harmless, but the truth is that
smokeless tobacco is not safe tobacco.  Tobacco candy causes cancer and

marketing of tobacco candy products towards children by tobacco companies is
completely irresponsible,” said Dr. Lou Libby, chief medical officer and
pulmonologist with The Oregon Clinic.  “This legislation will allow the
FDA to crack down on deceptive marketing designed to hook a new generation on
harmful tobacco products.  Just because dissolvable tobacco products don’t
produce smoke does not make them safe.   It’s great to see Senator
Merkley highlighting the dangers of tobacco candy and ensuring that they
receive the same scrutiny that cigarettes do.”

For more
information on the dangers of tobacco candy, please visit Senator Merkley’s website.