The drug that kills 1,200 Americans each day will finally be regulated in the USA. Tobacco cigarettes, perhaps the most addictive of all drugs, yet virtually unregulated as a consumer product, will come under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA. This will not result in prohibition, as the legislation provides for the continued sale of nicotine cigarettes. But several major things will change:
- Cigarette companies must provide lists of ingredients in cigarettes. The drug cigarettes is a combination of tobacco with a great many additives to strengthen their nicotine kick and mellow their delivery.
- The FDA will be able to regulate these additive drugs going into cigarettes.
- More advertising, warning and other restrictions will apply. Graphic warning labels will cover half the cigarette pack.
During the last 40 years of the War on Drugs, those politicians and bureaucrats who most demonized drugs like cannabis were apologists for tobacco companies and loathe to even call cigarettes a drug. Even in today’s historic senate vote, Drug War mongers such as Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell voted against the legislation bringing cigarettes under control of the FDA. As reported by McClatchy, “Senators who opposed tobacco bill received top dollar from industry.” In addition to McConnell, North Carolina’s Jim Bunning and Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss, republicans all, tried to stop the bill. Tobacco state senator Jim Webb, D-Virgina voted for the legislation.
The progress made already in reducing use of the drug cigarettes by Americans has been remarkable. Increased taxation, eduction and smoking area restrictions have helped to greatly reduce the use of this drug, even though highly addictive.
- During the same period as the War on Drugs (some drugs, that is, such as cannabis) which has had virtually no impact on drug use, cigarette addiction and consumption has dropped in the USA.
- To win this great preventive health victory over cigarettes, no one had to go to jail, and no SWAT squads were sent to break down doors. The FDA regulation should help these encouraging non-smoking trends even more, without the ineffective and un-American brutality of the drug war.
Strangely, during these long decades when the drug cigarettes killed over 400,000 Americans each year, the drug war was aimed chiefly at a far less addictive drug that killed no one. Marijuana, or cannabis, was (and still is) listed as a Schedule I drug and controlled by the DEA.
- If any drug fits the requirements for Schedule I, it would be nicotine-laden tobacco cigarettes. They are highly addictive and have no recognized medical use, the supposed requirement for Schedule I.
- Cannabis, on the other hand, is far less addictive and has dozens of well documented medical uses.
As cigarettes now move to FDA regulation, cannabis should be removed from DEA schedules and restrictions and likewise regulated by the FDA.