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May 25, 1994

Tobacco Hearings: Penetrating the Smoke Screen

JAMA. 1994;271(20):1562. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510440022008

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WOULD-BE DIEHARD smokers are facing a new challenge—federal regulation of tobacco products. Concern about the hazards to health of smoking has led in recent years to a ban against the practice in most public buildings and nearly all parts of government and many private office buildings, not to mention the sequestration of smokers in restaurants.

Congress is considering a bill that would ban smoking in all public buildings. Smoking, in short, has become an antisocial habit.

Now there are moves in Congress that may result in regulating tobacco to reduce its addictive potential. At the same time, no outright prohibition against smoking is contemplated, and Congress is unlikely to pass any new federal legislation regulating tobacco products in the current session.

But the opening salvos have been fired. The issue of regulating tobacco has been put on the table and is not going to disappear in a cloud of smoke.

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