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Tobacco industry, meet the FDA


It's official: The tobacco industry now has to play by new rules. Referencing his own struggles to quit smoking, President Obama signed into law on Monday a bill that gives the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products that are responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the U.S.The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA authority over how tobacco products are manufactured and sold. During the coming months and years, a number of changes and regulations (check out a breakdown by The Associated Press) will be put into place. These include removal of flavored cigarettes from the market, a ban on tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and entertainment events, larger and stronger warning labels on all tobacco products, and premarket approval from the FDA of all new tobacco products.That last one sounds funny, doesn't it? The FDA will approve new tobacco products. I guess "FDA-approved" just took on dual meaning.Like most things, neither side is completely happy. Anti-smoking advocates say the bill doesn't go far enough to prevent smoking. (The bill doesn't ban nicotine, the ingredient that actually makes you addicted. Nor does it ban the products themselves. You'll still find cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars and other products on store shelves.) And opponents say the law's ban on outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds restricts free speech. Catch Obama talking about the law here.

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