Congress is set to pass a law today that will give the federal FDA the same power over tobacco it has over drugs and medical devices. Identical bills in both houses, hailed by the American Lung Association as a "win for public health," would allow the government to regulate levels of tar, nicotine and other hazardous ingredients in new cigarette products.
But not all experts are happy about the law, and some argue it won't help curb tobacco use, which kills 436,000 Americans a year. "The very idea of putting a deadly product like this under the FDA creates a perceived seal of approval," said one doctor. Tobacco smoke contains some 4,000 chemicals, including at least 40 known to cause cancer.