Before signing the bill, Obama said that tobacco-related illnesses are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and he detailed all the ways that kids get hooked on smokes before they turn 18. He ought to know, he said, because "I was one of these teenagers, so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it's been with you for a long time."
Is the prez still taking drags while nobody's looking? He wouldn't say, but he did say what's in the new law:
* FDA regulations will supersede weaker state laws, a major expansion of federal power; * The bill bans the words "light" or "mild" in tobacco advertising, as well as any words that give the impression that one cigarette is less dangerous than another; * It bans flavored tobacco products, like clove or cappuccino cigarettes (yes, they exist); * It requires companies to submit a complete list of ingredients in the tobacco, paper, filter and other components, and allows the FDA to require the removal of any additive it says is dangerous; * It requires this list of ingredients to be placed on all labels, which will itemize chemicals added to tobacco products; * It restricts tobacco marketing to children, such as tobacco billboards near schools.
Finally, the legislation applies to all tobacco products, not just cigarettes, and it passes all of the additional costs of new regulations back to the tobacco companies.
Before we consign the tobacco bill to history, however, let's take a quick look back at the House floor debate that gave us the words from Republican Steve Buyer of Indiana, never-before spoken in the history of Congress: "Go ahead and you smoke your lettuce!"
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