Submitted by Anne Landman on
The American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) has published an updated analysis of H.R. 1108, the massive bill currently under consideration by Congress that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products. AAPHP concludes, "This bill is a scam. It gives the image, but not the substance of effective federal regulation of the tobacco industry. If passed in anything close to its current form ... it will assure continuing high levels of cigarette-related illness and death for years to come. The principle benefactor will be the Altria/Philip Morris Company (PM). This bill will assure their continuing dominance of the domestic cigarette market and continuing high levels of sales and profits." The bill would make it illegal to add fruit and spice flavors to cigarettes, but specifically exempts menthol, a flavoring used disproportionately by African-Americans, who also suffer higher rates of tobacco-related illness. AAPHP denounced the menthol exemption in the bill as "institutional racism." However, a coalition of health groups, including the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, reiterated their support for the current bill.