Supreme Court addresses FDA regulation of tobacco
NEW YORK, Dec 01 (Reuters Health) -- The US Supreme Court on Wednesday began hearing arguments to decide whether or not the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate tobacco products.
Public health advocates have argued for years that the FDA should be allowed to regulate tobacco as it regulates drugs because of nicotine's addictive properties. However, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, disagreed in an August 1998 ruling, alleging that the agency had ``exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress'' when it attempted to regulate tobacco.
John R. Garrison, CEO of the American Lung Association, said, ``We have believed from the very beginning that a lower court decision denying FDA authority was wrong. The facts show that the FDA does have authority, under current law, to regulate tobacco products as 'drugs and devices' as defined in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.''
The American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and nearly 30 other public health and consumer groups filed a ''friend-of-the-court'' brief in the case in support of the FDA.