Public Opinion and Health Care |

The Public and the Comprehensive Tobacco Bill

Robert J. Blendon, ScD; John T. Young, MPhil
JAMA. 1998;280(14):1279-1284. doi:10.1001/jama.280.14.1279.
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ON JUNE 17, 1998, the US Senate voted to end consideration of comprehensive antitobacco legislation.1 The $516 billion bill was built on a blueprint developed nearly 1 year earlier in a settlement between the tobacco industry and 40 state attorneys general.

The Senate bill would have increased cigarette taxes by $1.10 per pack over several years, penalized the tobacco industry if youth smoking rates did not drop significantly, and given the Food and Drug Administration complete authority to regulate nicotine as a drug. The bill would also have included new regulations on the sale, manufacturing, labeling, and marketing of tobacco products, particularly to children. In addition, the legislation would have devoted a large share of the monies raised to health-related activities, including medical research, antismoking campaigns, and prevention research.1

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