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Tobacco Giant Backs Anti-Smoking Bill

From the former news magazine, Time:

Smoke Signals: Why a Tobacco Giant Is Backing a Tough New Antismoking Bill

By Kate Pickert

The U.S. Senate on Thursday struck the most devastating legislative blow in history to Big Tobacco, giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over the industry. The new bill, which passed in the House in April, includes tough new restrictions on advertising like allowing only black-and-white text ads in magazines with substantial youth readerships, mandates that manufacturers prove or stop using claims like "light" and "low tar," bans flavored cigarettes (except menthol) and makes provisions for large, graphic warning labels. So why, then, is tobacco giant Philip Morris, unlike its industry brethren, celebrating the unprecedented oversight?

When Senator John McCain introduced FDA regulatory legislation in 1998, the company spent a reported $100 million successfully fighting it. But since then, Philip Morris has had a crucial realization. With 50% of the U.S. tobacco market already safely in the company’s pocket – and more than 50% of 18- to 25-year-old smokers loyal to its top brand, Marlboro – restrictive legislation will effectively lock in its market dominance, preventing any competitors from taking a bite out of Philip Morris’ very lucrative business. (See vintage cigarette propaganda.)

The company’s main rival, R.J. Reynolds, manufacturer of Camel cigarettes, is still in dismay over Philip Morris’ reversal from regulation opponent to champion, and the third largest cigarette manufacturer, Lorillard, has labeled the legislation the Marlboro Monopoly Act. Both argue that as the new restrictions cut off most remaining avenues available for advertising and ban marketing stunts like free-sample cigarette giveaways, the companies’ ability to "communicate" (i.e., gain market share) with potential and existing smokers about their products will be blocked. In addition, the administrative costs of complying with FDA regulations favor large manufacturers over smaller ones.

But there’s another key reason Philip Morris lobbied hard for FDA regulation, aligning itself with strange bedfellows like the Campaign for Smoke-Free Kids, the American Lung Association and longtime antismoking crusaders Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative Henry Waxman. "Philip Morris wants the public-health community to join them in finding the holy grail: the safe cigarette," says Gregory Connolly, a tobacco expert and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Simply put, figuring out how to produce a less harmful tobacco product and getting an FDA seal of approval could open up a whole new, potentially huge consumer market.

There is nothing in the FDA legislation that expressly favors Philip Morris when it comes to innovation and new product development, but the company has far deeper pockets, putting it at a distinct advantage over its competitors. In 2007, the same year that nearly identical FDA legislation was introduced in Congress, Philip Morris opened a 450,000-sq.-ft. (42,000 sq m) research facility in Richmond, Va. The complex is filled with hundreds of employees, including scientists studying new tobacco technologies that Philip Morris is hoping to get through the new FDA approval process…

Notice that rather than address the real news of the Senate’s legislation, Time chose to focus upon the insidious designs of Big Tobacco.

But given that tobacco is still a legal substance, by what authority does the US Congress decide when and how it should be advertised?

Of course we realize that the boat has long sailed on the subject.

But once we have a fully fledged national healthcare, tobacco and smoking will be the first in a long line substances and behaviors will be outlawed.

Though, needless to say, practices leading to AIDS will not be among them.

(Thanks to Melissa for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, June 12th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Tobacco Giant Backs Anti-Smoking Bill”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    It was jump when told to jump or be taken over by the “I Won” power monkey!!

  2. proreason says:

    “Though, needless to say, practices leading to AIDS will not be among them.”

    When the dictatorship is in full flower (say about 2011), EVERY group, even the ones who supported the take-over, will be in danger.

    If the fools think Obamunists will have loyalty to some sub-group once the jackboot is firmly in place, they are in for some rude surprises…..particularly queers……unless, of course, Obamy is queer himself, rather than the power-drunk eunuch he appears to be.

  3. wardmama4 says:

    Well I wonder where The One ™ and the Klownposse in DC are going to come up with the 12 billion in tax revenue that the tobacco industry pays? Any takers on that.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      I’m afraid I might know, mama; but I’m gonna keep it to myself for now. (I’m kinda thinkin’ ya’ll know, too. Just aint sayin’, ay.) :-(

      If we say it, “it” becomes more real.

      God help us!!!

  4. tranquil.night says:

    Obama praises regulations, admits continued struggle with addiction

    I’ve wondered about this for a bit too, and I think he clearly still smokes (at the least tobacco). I don’t care if he or anyone else smokes, he does. But what I think it says is that this is a man that does not have the inner strength to overcome difficult things himself. Speaking as a former smoker, I know how difficult it is to quit. While there is a chemical addiction the real addiction is psychological when it comes to smoking. It’s as much a form of medicated control as it is an unhealthy outlet for stress and anxiety. You don’t quit unless you find another suitable activity, meditation, or means to deal with whatever it is – life, problems, whatever – and that means identifying the reasons of why you need to “deal” with it in the first place. Other than that, it just comes down to fortitude, and people that try to control everything don’t usually have much of it – it’s what inspires their controlling behavior in the first place.

    As for the industry, they probably saw this company. Marlboro is probably the most intelligent business-wise but still, it’s a stupid thing to support.

  5. platypus says:

    All I know is that since this morning, I am now using an FDA approved product.

    Thank you, obi-wan, for making me legit.

  6. VMAN says:

    I’m mot surprised that Phillip Morris got on board with this. What brand does the O Hole smoke anyway? It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if we see corporations in various industries start to emerge as dominant and smaller corporations in the same industries disappearing. Large companies don’t hate fascism / socialism as long as there the chosen ones. Look at the car execs kissing the O Hole’s butt trying to save there own butts.

    • badcrow says:

      “What brand does the o hole smoke?”

      Of course dat would be KOOLS, brah! And you know he NEVER buys his own pack, smokes O.P.’s. But don’t offer him a Marlboro– he won’t touch it. You know they be liken they Menthols!

      Typical noon time interaction, downtown Harrisburg, PA.: I’m lighting a cigarette during my break, when I’m approached by a local Obama supporter…

      “Yo, yo. Hey Dude yo!” Says the O-bot.
      “Yes,” I say.
      “Yo menk, you got a cigarette?”
      “Yeah sure,” I reply, shaking out a Marlboro and offering.
      “No, No, No man. I kent smoke dat *hit, you gots KOOLS!” He says.
      “Uh, no”
      “AW man, you ain’t got MENTHOLS?!”
      “No, I’m sorry, this is all I’ve got.” I say, still holding out the pack towards him.
      “You gotta a quarter den?”

      Funny part of this story? As he turns away, his photo ID badge swings from beneath his jacket and I catch a glimpse. He’s from a local “Communty Organization!” Wish I smoked Newports now–he may someday be President. Might’ve made me ambassador to Swasiland!

    • proreason says:

      “Large companies don’t hate fascism / socialism as long as there the chosen ones”

      Very true for fascism. Big business thrived under Hitler and Mussilini.

      But with true socialism, the government owns the means of production.

      Obamy seems to lean towards facism, at least for the moment. It fits his lie that he is in favor of capitalism and they he is only taking over businesses because he has to do it, and only for short periods of time.

      Personally, I think he will stay with fascism for the first 20 years or so, until his original big money backers die off and he is able to replace them with his fully-indoctrinated thugs/commissars. At that point, he will convert to full communism……the better to control the marks and punish the offenders, you know.

  7. joeblough says:

    Private companies cannot create true monopolies. Only the government can do that.

    Outfits seeking a monopoly are always doing seemingly counter-intuitive crap like this.

    Screw Phillip Morris.

    BTW, I believe Phillip Morris belongs to Kraft General Foods.

    I recommend that anybody who smokes stop buying KGF food products.

    • Petronius says:

      Philip Morris is owned by Altria, which also owns USA Tobacco (smokeless tobacco) and SAB Miller brewers. Kraft Foods is now a separate corporation, with its own shareholders, as the result of a spin-off or demerger from Altria in 2007.

      Nerobama will attempt to bring many if not all industries under Government control before he’s done. Tobacco is a soft target . . . a kind of pre-game warm-up for the coming take-over of the medical industry. The medical industry will be a hard target because there is a lot of built-in resistance among the American people, who generally have a conservative attitude because they like their doctors and the health care that they and their families now receive. I think the battle over the medical industry will shape up like the battle over amnesty. The Destroyer-crats have the votes to do it, but the public will resist. The challenge for Nerobama and the Destroyer-crats is to break that resistance. One way they are doing this is (as we have seen on other threads here at S&L) by silencing lobbyists for the medical profession and medical industry.

  8. canary says:

    New tobacco laws won’t affect the White House Plantation owner Obamba, who enjoy’s lighting up. Obamba’s home-grown organic garden can produce the finest tobacco in the world. Obamba enjoys 1st class universal pleasure with the use of Middle-Eastern gifts; a Golden narquhile for smooth cool flavor, or for travel, delicate fine rolling skins made of virgin, male goat testicles. While, the plantation’s owner’s smoking room is still unknown to the public, workers often get a wift of the sweetest global aroma in the world.

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