[JURIST] Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan [official profile] said Tuesday that the US Food and Drug Administration [official website] is currently unable to handle the responsibility of tobacco regulation. A bill introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) [official website] would put the tobacco industry under FDA regulation, something that the FDA itself has previously lobbied for, but McClellan said that the FDA does not have the resources to take on such a large responsibility. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee [official website] will look at the proposed legislation on Wednesday.
In February, Kennedy and other lawmakers from both the Senate and House introduced [JURIST report; press release] the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act [S 2461 text; PDF], which would give the FDA the same authority to regulate tobacco products as it has over other consumer products. The FDA first began to regulate the tobacco industry in 1996, but the US Supreme Court ruled in FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. [text] that Congress had not provided the FDA with authority to regulate tobacco products. Reuters has more.