Philip Morris Lobbies to Give FDA Control Over Tobacco Regulations
Philip Morris Cos. is telling anyone who will listen that it wants Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco -- within limits.
A growing army of the tobacco company's lobbyists have been knocking on Capitol Hill doors. A Philip Morris position paper has been sent to the White House. Feelers have gone out to public-health experts. Chairman Geoffrey C. Bible even gave a speech last month to shareholders touting the benefits of more regulation.
Philip Morris, which makes the Marlboro cigarette brand and sells more than half the cigarettes smoked in the U.S., says new rules could provide more "predictability" and "stability" for its business. The company also plans to start selling a potentially "safer" cigarette next year, and it is keen to have federal regulations in place governing the development and marketing of such products. . .
Rival tobacco companies, meanwhile, think Philip Morris is going too far and that its plans are designed to give it a competitive advantage. . .
In a white paper outlining its position, Philip Morris says the FDA should have the power to regulate, but not to ban, cigarettes. The company says it would support legislation that places "new restrictions on the marketing and distribution of tobacco products," but that it "opposes the idea that the FDA should have 'unfettered' authority to restrict cigarette marketing that is directed at adult smokers."