Merkley: Senate Tobacco Regulation Bill A Breakthrough For Public Health

Merkley: Senate Tobacco Regulation Bill A Breakthrough For Public Health

Merkley Amendment Places Dangerous Tobacco Candy Under Review

Washington, D.C. – Today, 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.

The 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 kills.”

“The 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.