Will we soon have FDA-approved cigarettes, thanks to Henry Waxman and Philip Morris?
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The bill contains has yet another tobacco tax, this one a “user fee” on manufacturers of tobacco products. This is yet another barrier to entry — large costs that an established firm like Philip Morris can afford but smaller companies are more likely to find prohibitive. As those additional taxes are passed down to the consumer, the demand for cheaper, gray-market cigarettes lacking tax stamps will grow, as will the crime that goes with it.
The Waxman-Kennedy legislation has some provisions, such as increased monitoring and reporting of the chemical additives found in most commercial cigarettes, which could arguably increase the health of the smoking public. Yet the FDA regularly bans alternative nicotine products that lack those additives.
Such contradictions will ultimately make this plan a big loser. The “evil” Big Tobacco companies will just get bigger, and the average tobacco consumer will be left with higher costs, less information about and fewer choices for mitigating the harm that tobacco smoke can do. That’s just not healthy.