Occupational Physicians Support FDA Regulation of Tobacco

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine\r\nsaid it supports legislation that would authorize\r\nthe U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco\r\nproducts.

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) announced its support for legislation that would authorize the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products.

ACOEM''s Board of Directors voted to support the "FDA Tobacco Authority Amendments Act" at its meeting held at the American Occupational Health Conference in Philadelphia, Pa.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the FDA lacks the authority under existing statutes to regulate tobacco.

The Court''s decision shifted the responsibility and focus for authorizing tobacco regulation back to Congress.

In response to that ruling, a bipartisan effort to grant regulatory authority has resulted in the proposed "FDA Tobacco Authority Amendments Act" and several other similar bills.

"ACOEM was disappointed by the Court''s decision," said newly installed ACOEM President Dr. Robert Goldberg. "The FDA has shown -- as noted in the Court''s ruling -- that tobacco use poses the single most significant threat to public health in this country. It''s simply poor public policy that the food we eat and the drugs we use to treat illnesses are regulated by the FDA, yet this deadly product remains outside of its purview. This legislation will resolve that quandary."

More than 400,000 Americans are killed by tobacco each year. ACOEM, which has long advocated that tobacco be restricted in the workplace, joins the American Medical Association and other physician societies in supporting strict tobacco regulation through the FDA.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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