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Obama Signs Bill Regulating Tobacco

President Obama signs legislation granting authority over tobacco products to the United States Food and Drug Administration in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Marvin Joseph/ The Washington Post)

By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama today signed legislation giving the federal government sweeping new power to regulate the manufacturing, advertising and marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Obama signed the bill into law during a Rose Garden ceremony, where he hailed it as a landmark measure that would help rein in some of the health damage caused by smoking, which is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths in the United States each year. Additionally, one in five children in the country is estimated to smoke by the time they graduate from high school.

Obama invoked his own struggles with smoking as he pointed out that almost 90 percent of smokers begin the oft-deadly habit by the time they turn 18. "I know -- I was one of these teenagers," said Obama, who has frequently talked publicly about his struggle to kick smoking. "And so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it's been with you for a long time."

The law will bring sterner warnings of the risks of smoking on cigarette packs, and possible changes to the formulations of cigarettes and cigars. The law also bans most cigarette flavorings and orders the FDA to study the issue of whether menthol should also be banned, on the theory that the flavorings mask the harsh taste of tobacco and make it easier for first-time smokers to get hooked.

The law will also require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as institute severe limitations on how they are advertised and promoted. The government could also issue new rules on nicotine content, flavorings, and other product features. The bill, however, stops short of allowing the FDA to prohibit tobacco or to eliminate nicotine, the addictive element.

The measure comes a half century after the surgeon general first warned of the health effects of tobacco. Congress has been battling for more than a decade over regulating tobacco, coming close several times but faltering in the face of opposition from the tobacco lobby, the White House, or procedural hang-ups. But over the years, changing attitudes toward smoking have helped transform the idea of regulation.

"The decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of smoking has emerged victorious," Obama said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 22, 2009; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , Health Care  
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Next: Obama: U.S. Can't Be Foil For Iran


And here we go again.

You shouldn't pay for a smoker's lung cancer. That's right. And he shouldn't pay for state road repair or your alcohol- induced liver problems. He shouldn't pay for your Dialysis treatments because of your eating habits. And he certainly shouldn't pay for your STDs because of your tolerant lifestyle. So that argument holds no sway.

Rather, we should rid the health care community of all government involvement. If you don't believe the govt's involved, just take a look at Kennedy's brain child. The average premiums hover around $16000 per year with some as high as $32,000 in the great state of MA.

We are fools people. We have forgotten what a free society is. We have allowed the morally bankrupt and socialistic vagabonds and freeloaders to take root and prosper. It is our faults, the conservatives, the upholders of law and order and justice who have turned our heads as the barbarian horde invaded. But we can still win the war. Write, call, fax your congressmen. Tell them to LEAVE US ALONE, GET THEIR GRUBBY HANDS OUT OF OUR COOKIE JARS.

Call that traitor we call president, who bows to foreigners and apologizes for us, the American people, to get out of the socialist party and back to being what a real Democrat used to be.

We have fallen far and if we don't wise up, we will sink. This impostor wants to push bills that will cost us trillions...that's right, TRILLIONS of dollars. Now where do you think that money is coming from?

But I suppose that is not a major concern for those who feel that wealth should be distributed evenly.

Posted by: RevolutionNow | June 25, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Obama quit smoking himself instead of sneaking around the White House and preaching to others?

He's become the new Marlboro Man.

Posted by: Jerzy | June 23, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't smoke. Anymore. (Two months.)

I don't want to pay for someone else's lung cancer.

But that's no different than paying for someone else's broken spine and quadrapalegic treatment from a bungie jumping accident because he doesn't have insurance. So you can draw a distinction if you want, but there isn't one in reality.

The problem is not smoking. Nor is bungie jumping.

The problem is that we are being held responsible and made to pay for someone else'es stupid move.

We could always go back minding our own business, letting people run their own lives AND deal with the consequences of their own actions, even if that meant dying from stupidity.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | June 23, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

you people scare me...

Posted by: helofan | June 23, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Smokers....listen up.

If your stupidity did not bear on my quality of life, I'd let you all smoke yourselves to, I'd encourage you all to smoke yourselves to death.

But the catch is that your second-hand smoke does compromise my QOL...and there is an elected body that will act to preserve the QOL for folks like me.

Another thing. Your stupidity often leads to you being a ward of the state when you are unable to pay your healthcare bills. I don't want my tax dollars going to your healthcare when your need for healthcare is preventable by you not engaging in obviously at-risk behavior.

Yea, I do draw the line between smoking and bungie-jumping, sky diving, shark-wrestling, volcano-extinguishing, etc. etc. etc.

A pack of smokes for $10 is fine with me.

p.s., The POTUS should quit if he hasn't already....doesn't set a good example and one thing about being POTUS is the requirement to "walk the walk" when you "talk the talk".

Posted by: skiloypet | June 23, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Why stop with smoking?

Let's outlaw all dangerous behavior done for pleasure and without a useful purpose.

Bungie Jumping, Parachuting, Nascar Racing, Boxing, White-Water Rafting, Spelunking, Fornication without intent for reproduction, Cosmetic Surgery and on and on and on.

Good bye life!

Hello fascist safety police!

Oh please, save us from ourselves!

Wear your helmets!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | June 23, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Humans are addictive creatures? Sure. If you want to smoke, then get lung cancer, then undergo a mediastionscopy/bronchoscopy/chemo/painful death, go for it.
Just don't go crying to the federal govenment to pay for your medical bills, or that Big Tobacco screwed you over.
Government exists to save people like you, from yourselves.

Posted by: DCMD | June 23, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Yep,Pam83, I too,notice that everything that Barack Obama does,always ends up,by
having to be all about Obama,and to Hell
with anyone else....So,I have concluded
that Obama muust think "We,the people" is
meant to mean,"I,Barack Hussein Obama am
the People" as Obama is the biggest phony
empty suit,narcissistcal,total egomaniac
publicity hound on earth.

And you better beleive I am also tired of
having to hear,or see or read nothing but
Barack Hussein Obama every day minute of the day. I hope Obama,or David Axelrod,or
Rahm Emmanuel or that doofus pathetic
White House Press Secretary Robert Goofy
Gibbs read this,or Fred Hiatt as this 24/7
Obession with Obama sucks big time.

However,there is hope as for the second
day in a row the Rasmussen Poll is showing
Barack Hussein Obama Approval Ratings are
NOW in The Negative Range and Dropping.
And so, that can only mean the American
people are waking up from their Obama
binge and will throw Obama out along with
Nancy Pelosi and Senile Harry Reid.

Posted by: Carleen19771 | June 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

So,has anyone else here,ever noticed that
the Fake Messiah Barack Hussein Obama,just
always finds a way to everything about him?
This creep is the most egotistical,phony,
egomaniac,narcisstic,empty suit that ever
wormed his way into a political office and
the biggest failure every produced by the
National Socialist Democratic Liberal Party
Nazi Losers! Iam so sick of Obama this and
Obama that WAPO and the rest of our damn
pathetic newsmedia that it makes me want
to throw up,in disgust. Impeach Obama!
And Dump Nancy Pelosi and Crazy Harry Reid!

Posted by: Pam83 | June 23, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

The funny part is that the Boy Wonder smokes on Federal property which is against the law,but hey when you are the head of a Socialist country who's going to complain? ABC,sure they will,cBS yea sure,how about Chris Matthews? Chris needs a cig every time he fantasizes being Larry Sincliar when him and Barry were smokin and pokin partners.

Posted by: fe59 | June 22, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

President Obama said "And so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it's been with you for a long time."

hmmmm, he was probably referring to his COCAINE habit.

Posted by: ashafer_usa | June 22, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Finally! Now that tobacco is no longer a danger can we repeal the taxes on it's use?

Posted by: rpatoh | June 22, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

So if smoking is so restricted, where does Obama go to smoke? He's supposed the obey the law too.

Posted by: brewstercounty | June 22, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

This is no victory for America. It is a triumph for Philip Morris, the largest cigarette company in America, who helped write it and pushed it through Congress.

The American Association of Public Health Physicians says this bill "gives the image, but not the substance of effective federal regulatory authority" and "will do more harm than good".

For just one example, the bill says all FDA regulations must go through a committee that includes three tobacco industry representatives.

The same day this bill was signed, Philip Morris launched an entire new brand of cigarette "Marlboro Menthol". The bill explicitly bans FDA from regulating menthol in cigarettes. You do the math.

No, this is no victory for America.

Posted by: jpk1 | June 22, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Probably a good legal and regulatory structure for marijuana also.

Posted by: bystander3 | June 22, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Did Obama celebrate the signing by smoking a cig behind the White House? LOL.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 22, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh for pete's sake. No body is preventing you from smoking. Are you really so selfish that you don't support an initiative to prevent kids from taking up the habit and to help people lead a healthier life? Wow! I hope your smoking-related illness don't contribute to rising healthcare costs for everyone else.

Posted by: neko4 | June 22, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Humans are addictive creatures. If they want to smoke I have nor does our gov't have any right to tell them they can't.

Next will be colas, ice cream, meat, energy, water, ......

Where will it end?

Stay out of my life. Leave me alone.

Take care of security and transactions between states.

That's the federal gov't role.

Our gov't is out of control and clearly Out of line.

We need to reign them back in.

Posted by: debmries | June 22, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

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