четверг, 2 июня 2011 г.

Judge rejects big tobacco’s effort to end case that found industry concealed smoking dangers

big tobacco

A federal judge has rejected the tobacco industry’s latest effort to end a case in which the companies were found to have concealed the dangers of smoking for decades.

The nation’s largest cigarette manufacturers had argued that U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler no longer has jurisdiction in the government’s landmark lawsuit against the companies because a 2009 law empowers the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the industry.
The companies say that in light of the FDA’s powers, there is no longer a reasonable likelihood they will commit violations. Kessler ruled that argument unconvincing.

The judge is considering forcing the companies to pay for a campaign of “corrective” statements on the addictiveness of nicotine and the lack of health benefit from cigarettes sold as “low tar,” ‘’ultra-light” or “mild.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

S.C. man Terrence Bryant sold boys tobacco, for chance to spank them, say cops

Authorities in South Carolina say they arrested 50-year-old convenience store clerk Terrence Bryant for selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to boys - in exchange for letting him spank them.

According to deputies, the father of a 12-year-old boy found out that his son got a pack of Newport cigarettes from Bryant. Detectives say they determined that the man gave the boy cigarettes on five occasions over a two month period, in exchange for the boy letting Bryant spank him with his clothes on, reports CBS affiliate WLTX.

Deputies say Bryant also gave two 15-year-old boys smokeless tobacco in exchange for spanking them.

Bryant kept the cigarettes and smokeless tobacco stored in the glove compartment of his 2002 pickup truck, according to investigators. Officers say Bryant purchased the tobacco products that he provided to the boys.

Bryant is charged with three counts of committing a lewd act upon a child under the age of 16.

Bryant faces a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison if he is convicted on all four counts, WLTX reports. He is detained on bail of $105,000.

House GOP pushes back against health measures affecting school lunches, tobacco

House Republicans are pushing back against a series of public health measures, including school lunch standards and tobacco regulation, teeing up a confrontation with Senate Democrats and the White House over the reach of government in daily life.

The Republicans have used an agriculture appropriations bill to send several messages: They don’t want the government to require school meals that are more nutritional but also more expensive, they don’t want the government to prod food companies to restrain marketing to children, and they don’t want the Food and Drug Administration to regulate any substance based on anything but “hard science.”

They took aim at measures that are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to combat obesity among children and adults as well as some initiatives enacted by the previous Congress.

On Tuesday, the GOP majority on the House Appropriations Committee approved a 2012 spending plan that directs the Agriculture Department to ditch the first new nutritional standards in 15 years proposed for school breakfasts and lunches. The lawmakers say meals containing more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy will cost an additional $7 billion over five years — money they say the country can ill afford in difficult economic times.

The committee also directed the USDA to scale back participation in an effort to develop voluntary guidelines for companies that market food to children. And it directed the FDA to exempt grocery and convenience stores and other businesses from regulations set to take effect next year requiring that calorie information be displayed.

“Our hope is that the Senate will reiterate their strong support for these policies rather than try to roll back important progress on obesity prevention,” said Margo Wootan, direction of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The most intense reaction was generated by a provision offered by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) that would block the FDA from issuing rules or guidance unless its decisions are based on “hard science” rather than “cost and consumer behavior.” The amendment would prevent the FDA from restricting a substance unless it caused greater harm to health than a product not containing the substance.

“The FDA is starting to use soft sciences in some considerations in the promulgation of its rules,” said Rehberg, who defined “hard science”, as “perceived as being more scientific, rigorous and accurate” than behavioral and social sciences.

“I hate to try and define the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, between a sociologist and a geologist, but there is clearly a difference,” he told the committee.

Rehberg said his rider was not targeted at tobacco, but anti-smoking advocates said Wednesday that the rider would make it impossible for the FDA to regulate menthol in cigarettes, a major decision pending at the agency.

“This would undermine a law that Congress passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support two years ago,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “It would undo the one thing that all members of Congress agreed upon, which was to protect kids from tobacco.”