Is this self-delusion on the part of the Righteous, or a sinister plot to increase company profits?
The American senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday, to limit nicotine in cigarettes. The legislation, one of the most dramatic anti-smoking initiatives since the surgeon general’s report, would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the content, marketing and advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“It will make history by giving the scientists and medical experts at the FDA the power to take sensible steps. At any given moment, millions are struggling with their habit or worrying about loved ones who smoke.”
The legislation gives the FDA power to evaluate the contents of tobacco products and to order changes or bans on those that are a danger to public health. The agency could limit nicotine yields but not ban nicotine or cigarettes.
The nation’s largest tobacco manufacturer, Philip Morris, USA, has come out in support of the legislation. Its parent company, Altria Group, said in a statement that on balance, “the legislation is an important step forward to achieve the goal we share with others to provide federal regulation of tobacco products.”
Strange? Not really, the FDA ban on new products will enshrine Philip Morris’ gargantuan share of the market for ever, and reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes will ensure that those of us who are addicted to our 1.0mg of nicotine every day will have to buy more cigarettes than ever to compensate……..as anyone who ever attempted to switch to low nicotine cigarettes will testify.
In the UK the percentage tax burden incorporated in the price of a packet of cigarettes has actually gone down since 2001 if you exclude Vat ( surprised? I was, I thought the government was trying to stop raising an average £8 billion a year from we smokers……..) cutting the amount of nicotine in the cigarettes is a nifty way of driving up cigarette sales whilst maintaining both the moral high ground (filthy habit, don’t want your tax pennies) and blaming it on the US.
It will, of course do wonders for the cross border cigarette smuggling industry, especially those phony Marlborough’s coming out of China, that even Philip Morris employees can’t positively distinguish from the genuine article. They’ll be able to now, they’ll be the ones with lead in their pencil……..
God help Gordon Brown when 20% of the population are suffering from nicotine deprivation.