Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cartoon Draws Attention to Absurdity of Proposed FDA Tobacco Legislation

A cartoon created by cartoonist Matt Bors and commissioned by Dr. Alan Blum, director of the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, appeared in the opinion section of last Sunday's Birmingham News. The cartoon draws public attention to the absurdity of the proposal to place responsibility for the safety of cigarettes in the hands of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The cartoon also appears on the website of the Association of Public Health Physicians, which opposes the proposed FDA tobacco legislation.

The cartoon features a cancer patient apparently receiving chemotherapy in a hospital bed while smoking, with the header: "When you're dying, you can use FDA-approved cancer drugs." The smoking patient states: "It's a one-stop agency for everything I need."

Bors states that: "we have a situation where people will be buying 'FDA approved' smokes while other brands are banned by arbitrary standards involving the packaging and marketing of the cigarettes instead of the actual result of using the products. Just to be clear, I am in favor of certain restrictions on Tobacco's claims and advertising--anyone who knows me is aware of my loathing f0r this product. This Bill is just misguided."

He adds: "Don't let anyone ever say that Democrats or Liberal leaning interest groups don't give bills deceitful titles: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. You see, by putting cigarettes under the FDA we will protect families from smoking. Not any individuals, single people, couples, or orphans. Families."

Bors concludes: "As Dr. Blum said in his testimony against this Bill to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: 'The proposed FDA bill will simply change who is committing consumer fraud. Currently, it’s still the tobacco companies, marketing reduced tar and nicotine cigarettes in a way that deceives consumers into believing that these products are safer. If the FDA bill is enacted, then the government will be doing the dirty work for the tobacco companies. Small wonder why Philip Morris embraces this bill, which will permit it to tell consumers that it is complying with strict product safety standards, making government-approved cigarettes.'"

The Rest of the Story

What a great job by Matt Bors (and a great idea of Dr. Blum's) to use humor to draw attention to the absurdity of this legislation. The image of a smoker receiving FDA-approved chemotherapy while smoking an FDA-approved cigarette says it all. Thank God for the FDA legislation. At least the cigarettes which will be causing cancer, disease, and death for literally thousands of Americans each month after the legislation is enacted will be FDA-approved products. We wouldn't want people dying from cigarettes which do not meet FDA's standards.

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