The Government Regulation of Tobacco Products Case Study Analysis

The Government Regulation of Tobacco Products Case Study Analysis

Tobacco in government is nothing new. More than 40 years have passed since the U. S. Surgeon General issued a report declaring cigarettes as a health hazard, yet more than 20% of American’s still smoke (Lawrence 191, “Overview”). In the 1990’s the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted and failed to gain authority over the regulation of tobacco and cigarette company executives testified that nicotine is not addictive (Villanti).

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Nearly fifteen years later, in 2009, President Obama approved the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products and their marketing (Adams). This has been a long standing public policy issue that has been ripe with contest from leaders in the industry who have continued to fight regulation even after they have been made law (Villanti). The regulation of tobacco products is a type of social regulation with the goal of protecting consumers health and safety (Lawrence 184).

By regulating the production and marketing of tobacco products, the government is addressing the negative externalities of health problems and costs that can arise for customers (Adams, Lawrence 180). There is also an ethical rationale attached to this regulation, specifically in the case of preventing advertisements of tobacco products to the vulnerable youth population (Lawrence 180, Masoudi). Reynolds America, a parent company of the largest tobacco manufacture in the U. S. , is stiffly opposed to these regulations and has argued that the FDA would not be able to enforce these laws.

The company has taken an arm’s length orientation towards the governments effort to regulate tobacco and has publicly attacked the legislation through TV advertisements and claims that these laws would create a monopoly because smaller companies wouldn’t be able to increase their market share with these new regulations (Lawrence 174, Adams). On the other hand, Altria, a parent company of Phillip Morris, was a strong supporter of this legislation. However, most of this support was behind-the-scenes in Congress and they actually believed that the bill wouldn’t end up passing, but they wanted a “seat at the table” and more mportantly, to make sure that tobacco products wouldn’t be completely outlawed (Lawrence 192). While these two companies both intrinsically oppose of this legislation, they took two very different approaches. Reynolds went on the attack against the legislation, claiming that the government already had to much on its plate to effectively enforce these law and Altria used the technique of ‘keeping your enemies close’ so that they were able to be on the inside of the legislation and pull their weight if need be.

The public policy inputs for this case began in 1964 with the U. S. Surgeon General’s report and has continued with reports of their effects on health since (“Overview”). The rationale for this regulation is based on the goal of creating a “public health standard that focuses on the overall goal of reducing the number of individuals who die or are harmed by tobacco products” (Masoudi). While not explicitly stated in the case, it can be assumed that the tools to achieve these policy goals will be penalties against the companies who do not comply (Lawrence 177, Adams).

The effects of these regulations were the discontinuation of flavored and menthol tobacco, restrictions on what could be used in advertisements and where they could be located and how warning labels appear on packaging (Masoudi, Villanti). While not in affect yet, the FDA will also be able to reduce the addictive chemicals and the number of toxins in tobacco (Adams). I think that these new tobacco control laws will be effective in protecting the American youth from smoking. The FDA has continued to fight tobacco companies and educate the American people about the dangers that are associated with using tobacco product (“Overview”).

Through the creation of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, they have been able to better understand which regulations will do the most good in protecting the public health (Masoudi, “Overview”). Previous regulations against ads using cartoon character and placing them at child height reduced the numbers of children who began smoking and I these laws are a continuation of those efforts and will continue to have the same affect of decreasing the numbers of children and adults who smoke (Adams, Masoudi).

Works Cited Adams, Rebecca. “House Passes Legislation to Authorize FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products. ” CQ Weekly, 67. 14 (2009): 780. Details of the legislation FDA. “Overview of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. ” Guidance, Compliance & Regulatory Information (Tobacco). U S Food and Drug Administration. Web Lawrence, Anne T. , and James Weber. Business and Society: Stakeholders, Ethics, Public Policy. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2011. Print. Masoudi, Gerald, and Christopher Pruitt. The Food and Drug Administration V. the First Amendment: A Survey of Recent FDA Enforcement. ” Health Matrix: Journal of Law- Medicine, 21. 1 (2011) 111. Case of violating first-amendment rights. Villanti, Andrea, Ellen Vargyas, Raymond Niaura, Stacy Beck, Jennifer Pearson, and David Abrams. “Food and Drug Administration Regulation of Tobacco: Integrating Science, Law, Policy, and Advocacy. ” American Journal of Public Health, 101. 7 (2011): 1160. Reasons and research behind the legislation.


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