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FTC Acts to Prevent Tobacco Industry Deception About Tar, Nicotine Levels; Congress Should Give FDA Authority Over Tobacco Products
Date:11/26/2008

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO )

The Federal Trade Commission today has taken important action to protect public health by prohibiting tobacco companies from claiming that cigarette tar and nicotine ratings are based on an FTC-approved testing method or that they are endorsed or approved by the FTC. The FTC action rescinds guidance issued in 1966 that permitted statements concerning tar and nicotine yields based on a smoking machine test known as the Cambridge Filter Method, commonly called "the FTC method." Today's FTC action puts the tobacco companies on notice that they risk legal action by the FTC if they use the current tar and nicotine ratings in a way the FTC finds false or misleading.

While today's FTC action is important, it will not by itself end the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing of "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes and underscores the need for Congress to enact pending legislation to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco products. That is exactly what FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour urged Congress to do in a statement today.

Today's FTC action does not explicitly prohibit the tobacco companies from continuing to make statements regarding tar and nicotine levels and does not immediately ban deceptive cigarette descriptions such as "light" or "low-tar." The legislation before Congress would ban such terms. It would also grant the FDA the authority to strictly regulate any health claims about tobacco products to ensure they are scientifically proven and are not marketed in ways that encourage new smokers to start or discourage current smokers from quitting
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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