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Capitol Health Call
July 9, 2008

Cigarette Bill

JAMA. 2008;300(2):160. doi:10.1001/jama.300.2.160-b

Seven former secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Services urged Congress to amend bills in the House and Senate that would grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory oversight of tobacco products.

The secretaries are concerned that under the provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (S 625 and HR 1108 [http://thomas.loc.gov]), menthol would be excluded from a proposed ban on flavors in cigarettes. They noted in a letter sent to all members of Congress on June 4 that because 75% of black smokers use menthol cigarettes, the exception is “ . . . a loophole big enough for a herd of wild animals to romp through and trample the health of African Americans.”

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