Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Health Groups Seek Regulations on Cigarette Ads

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Health Groups Seek Regulations on Cigarette Ads

Article excerpt

LEADING HEALTH Associations have petitioned states with laws regulating food, drug or cosmetic advertising to turn that same attention to cigarettes.

A coalition of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association petitioned regulatory agencies in five states to classify low-tar, low-nicotine" cigarettes as "drugs" under existing laws.

Named the Coalition on Smoking OR Health, the group asked the state agencies to act swiftly to ensure proper labeling and to prohibit misleading advertising of those products.

The petitions, which were filed in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, say that both federal and state agencies have the authority to classify some cigarette brands as drugs if advertisements or promotions for those products imply that they are safer and less addictive than regular brands, or if they are intended to affect the function of the body.

Joe Marx, spokesman for the American Heart Association, said that the five states had been chosen because laws already exist in those states whose interpretation could classify low-tar and low-nicotine tobacco products as drugs, making manufacturers accountable for the claims they make.

The three associations have filed a series of federal petitions over the past five years with the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission urging action to regulate the sale, manufacture, distribution, advertising and promotion of tobacco in a manner consistent with those agencies' regulations of other products.

The two federal agencies have not responded to those petitions.

Notice of the filing of the five state petitions was sent in advance to the attorneys general in 27 states. Those attorneys general recently wrote a letter seeking congressional support to repeal the section of the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (15 U. …

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