Today, in the Rose Garden, Barack Obama lauded the passage of a bill that will give the FDA the power to regulate cigarettes. The bill passed with bi-partisan support in both the House and the Senate. The most memorable line delivered in Obama’s brief statement, “A bill that truly defines change in Washington,” could not be more appropriate.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, will give the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Under this act they will be able to dictate what goes in a cigarette and they will be able to require reductions in particular substances at their discretion. They can reduce the level of nicotine to nearly zero, but not remove it entirely. The days of smokers being able to light up and feed a nic fit may soon be over.
The bill itself is clearly disturbing if you’re a smoker, but it should also be disturbing to non-smokers. Though I don’t smoke, and find the smell nauseating, I find this bill to be far more repulsive. Obama was right when he said the bill represented change in Washington. It represents the kind of change that embraces a larger and more powerful Federal Bureaucracy. It’s the kind of change that further robs consumers of their freedom of choice and places greater control in the hands of bureaucrats.
What’s next on the Big Government’s list? Once they dive into universal health care, they may just try to regulate how much fat will be allowed in your cheeseburger. This time it’s smokers who will feel the sting of the Federal governments new power. The question is, will your guilty pleasure be next?
Update (9-28-2009): PunkJohnnyCash has a nice post here on how Phillip Morris/Altria benefits from this bill. He points out how Corporatism is the villain in this story, while Capitalism is just the fall guy.