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Senate Health Committee Approves FDA Tobacco Regulation

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The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has voted 15-8 to approve a bill giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco products, the Wall Street Journal reported May 21.

The bill could be headed to a vote in the full Senate in early June, backers said. A similar measure was approved in the House of Representatives last month.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), would allow FDA to regulate the ingredients in tobacco products as well as tobacco marketing. Supporters like Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said they were confident that a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority could be cobbled together when the bill hits the Senate floor.

Some tobacco-state lawmakers have vowed to block the measure because of the perceived economic impact of FDA regulation; some Republicans also say that FDA is ill-equipped to take on a vest new regulatory role.

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