House Passes Tobacco Bill, 298-112

Congressman Henry Waxman, of California's 30th District (Los Angeles), can now play Yankee Doodle and add a feather to his hat with the House passage of HR1256, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Regulation Act. The bill, which seeks to assign the authority of tobacco regulation to the FDA, passed a House vote yesterday with 298 representatives saying AYE and only 112 saying NAY. The New York Times has provided a roll call of the voting here. How did your representative vote?

The bill is now set for a Senate vote, but it will likely face stronger opposition there than it received in the House. Representing the largest tobacco producing state in the nation, Republican Senator Richard M. Burr, of North Carolina, has threatened a filibuster. But with Senator Edward Kennedy and Philip Morris USA backing HR 1256, and our new President on board, Senator Burr will more than likely have the proverbial uphill battle to wage. Interestingly enough, the Supreme Court denied an appeal to Philip Morris USA on March 31, 2009, in a landmark fraud case that awarded $79.5 million to a Portland, Oregon widow whose husband, a long-time smoker, died of lung cancer (see Philip Morris USA v Williams, 07-1216). The appeal has been bounced around the court system for 10 years and has racked up enough interest to make the award worth $155 million today. I can't help but wonder if Philip Morris USA will change its mind about supporting HR 1256 in light of this. After all, they will need smokers to buy their products in order to recoup their losses, right?

Remember, folks, HR 1256 has a direct impact on your right and ability to smoke hookah! Should the bill pass the Senate and become law, adding flavoring to tobacco will become illegal. Flavoring is the very heart of hookah tobacco!

What can you do?

Contact your senators and voice your opinion. Stand up and be heard!

Comment (1)

Actually if you read the bill, under Title 1, section 907 1.a.1, the no flavorings clause is a special rule for cigarettes. I don't know how this would apply to shisha.

The purpose of the FDA regulating tobacco is so the FDA can mandate that the companies reduce its nicotine content.

The problem is right now cigarette companies can add just about any chemical to cigarette tobacco.

As a almost daily hookah smoker I see no problem with this bill.