Tobacco giants hit back

DAVID USBORNE

New York

Five major tobacco companies submitted documents to the US government yesterday contending that it is acting illegally and in violation of the constitution by trying for the first time to regulate cigarette sales to the public.

The response, made to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hours before a deadline for comments on its plans for new controls on sales of cigarettes to minors, is the latest salvo from the industry as it tries to counter the momentum created by the anti-smoking lobby in America.

In a critical departure from past policy, the FDA announced last summer that it was proposing regulations to try to limit the access of minors to tobacco products. It defended its decision on the grounds that research had pointed to cigarettes being drug-delivery devices and therefore liable to the same controls as narcotics.

Specifically, the FDA said it would ask manufacturers to spend $150m (pounds 97m) a year on advertising to warn young people of the dangers of smoking. The sale of cigarettes from vending machines would be banned, as would cigarette advertising in locations deemed to be frequented by young people.

The FDA proposal drew public endorsement from President Bill Clinton, who made its implementation a high priority. While smoking among American adults has been declining in recent years, it is on the rise among minors. According to latest estimates, more than 3 million American adolescents are regular smokers.

"What the FDA proposes is a power grab," the tobacco companies protested in yesterday's 2,000-page document. They argue that the FDA's proposals are illegal under the constitution and unnecessary, because most states already control sales to minors.

Among the companies that made the response is Brown & Williamson, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco. The others were Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Lorillard Tobacco and the Liggett Group.

The FDA has also received large submissions from anti-smoking advocates who support the move but would prefer its provisions to be much stricter.

It is likely to be months before the FDA is able to make final preparations for enacting the rules. In the meantime, the tobacco industry has taken steps to try to block the FDA's path by filing a lawsuit.

Central to the industry's case is its claim that the FDA is mistaken in suggesting that cigarettes fit the legal definition of a drug, and that the effects of smoking fit the definition of addiction. On that basis, it contends, the FDA has no right to try to regulate cigarette sales.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works