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  • Congress Burns the Tobacco Industry Down to the Filter

    Excellent news, health-conscious consumers: yesterday the Senate passed sweeping legislation to control the tobacco industry's products, marketing and packaging…

    The bill would allow the FDA to require changes to nicotine yields and other chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products, although it could not ban nicotine. It would require tobacco companies to provide detailed lists of ingredients and any changes in those ingredients.

    The bill would ban the use of expressions such as "light" and "mild" that might mislead people into thinking there was less health risk in the product.

    The FDA also would have the power to restrict tobacco marketing; require pre-market approval of all new tobacco products; ban candied or flavored tobacco products that anti-smoking groups see as a way to entice young people into smoking; limit ads in publications with significant teen readership; and impose stronger warning labels on cigarette packages.

    Sure, it sounds like a lot of regulation, but that's something I can live with if it makes Americans safer, healthier and better informed about risk.

    In fact, I think I'll toast the Senate's prudent move with a Long Island iced tea or four. Then it'll be time to polish off this delicious Crisco-bacon-Adderall omelet and drive the kids to school.

    Tags: House of Representatives, Senate, Smoking
  • Barack Obama Signs Tax Hike for Sweet, Comforting Tobacco

    Aw! What a fucking traitor!

    President Barack Obama signed a health initiative soon after taking office to increase the tobacco taxes to finance a major expansion of health insurance for children. Other tobacco products, from cigars to pipes and smokeless tobacco, will also see similarly large tax increases. For example, the tax on chewing tobacco will go from 19.5 cents per pound to 50 cents. The total expected to be raised over the 4Ā½ year health-insurance expansion is nearly $33 billion.

    Separately, Congress is considering legislation to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. That could lead to reformulated cigarettes. President Obama, who has struggled with his own cigarette habit, said he would sign such a bill.

    That is not good cigarette karma. Not at all! He should know better.

    I'm a long-time smoker, but it's been 66 days, 13 hours and 23 minutesĀ  (give or take a few seconds) since the last time I took a drag off a cigarette (the longest I've gone since the Clinton administration), but I have half a mind to go light up right now and chain-smoke until my lungs are black, fitfully wheezing collections of charred tumor and I die slowly and painfully, a harsh burden upon an already over-strained health care system.

    Just to spite him.

    Tags: Barack Obama, Smoking