Regulating Tobacco

Can the FDA break America's smoking habit?


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been accumulating evidence that may enable the agency to regulate tobacco as a drug. Testifying at dramatic congressional hearings in March, FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler presented lawmakers with documents he says prove that cigarette manufacturers have long known of tobacco's addictive qualities and manipulated nicotine levels to keep smokers hooked. This latest offensive in the 30-year campaign against tobacco comes amid growing public intolerance of smoking, a new wave of litigation against cigarette manufacturers and a nationwide flurry of new local and state restrictions on smoking in public buildings. Cigarette makers deny wrongdoing and reject the assertion that nicotine is addictive. And they promise a stout defense of their beleaguered $50-billion-a-year industry.

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