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‘A Senate panel is nearing a vote on a proposal to put tobacco under Food and Drug Administration regulation despite objections that such a move would only entrench the market position of the nation’s No. 1 tobacco company. The bill, which was expected to be approved Wednesday by the Senate health committee and is identical to House legislation, would give the FDA the same authority over cigarettes and other tobacco products that the regulatory agency now has over drugs, food, medical devices and other consumer products. Specifically, it would let the FDA regulate the levels of tar, nicotine and other harmful components of tobacco products. Cigarette smoke alone contains some 4,000 chemicals, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer. It also would restrict advertising. The bill has broad bipartisan support though some Republican lawmakers believe it will do nothing to stop people from smoking. President George W. Bush, FDA commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt oppose the legislation. Philip Morris USA, maker of Marlboro, the top-selling American cigarette brand, supports the bill. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and others oppose the legislation, saying it would help cement Philip Morris as the market leader.’ This is because they want to take the amount of nicotine out of there because it’s nicotine that’s addicting. You take the amount of nicotine out you’re just going to sell more cigarettes. That’s what Philip Morris knows. No, you can’t sue the government no matter what.

No matter what, you can’t sue the government over drugs that they recommend or approve that end up having problems. You sue the manufacturer, even though the government’s approved it. You know that. No, no, no. Look. Here’s the thing. They want to put tobacco under FDA control. They want to regulate it. Just ban the stuff! If it’s this deadly, just get rid of it. Of course they can’t. Tax revenue, health care for children would suffer. In a companion story — one thing about tobacco. I’m sitting here thinking, what regulations are there that are already not on that product? Well, they can invent some new one. All right. ‘The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not prepared to take on tobacco regulation, although a Senate committee is pushing to give the agency that power, former commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan said on Tuesday. ‘I think there is some potential for regulation of tobacco. I’m a little bit nervous about putting it in FDA.’ … Currently the tobacco industry very lightly regulated with…’ (Laughing.) Don’t make me laugh. If that’s lightly regulated… Ah, let’s see: ‘… very lightly regulated, with the Department of Agriculture, Federal Trade Commission and Department of Health and Human Services having some input but no overall control over what goes into cigarettes.’ Well, it’s an agricultural product. You better give them overall control about what goes into a tangerine. ‘Senator Kennedy has introduced a bill that would allow the FDA to restrict tobacco advertising, prevent cigarette sales to minors,’ I thought we already had that, ‘mandate stronger warnings,’ (Laughing.) Redundancy. We have all of this, ‘and order removal of dangerous ingredients from cigarettes. McClellan, appointed by President George W. Bush, said he did not think the FDA was the right agency to regulate tobacco. ‘Having been at FDA, the agency doesn’t have any staff that’s used to thinking about how do you make an unsafe product relatively more safe,’ he told reporters.’ Okay, then shove it off to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Shove it off to OSHA. We have endless agencies that would love to get their mitts on this product and regulate it.


RUSH: Jerry in Lansing, Michigan, you’re next here on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Right to my point, Rush. You talked earlier that the FDA, correct, is possibly going to get control from Congress of controlling or regulating tobacco? Correct?

RUSH: That’s correct, yes.

CALLER: Okay. All right.

RUSH: They’re working on that even today as we speak.

CALLER: My question to you is this, and then I’ll hang up so I can listen to you, is I don’t have a problem. I mean, I use tobacco products. I’ll continue to use them. I’ve got no problem with them. But what would be the problem with the FDA regulating what the additives in the cigarettes are, such as the other things they put into tobacco like the ammonias and the different things they can put in?

RUSH: Oh, you mean the things that they’re using to kill their customers?

CALLER: No, I’m not saying that. I mean, when people buy tobacco cigarettes, shouldn’t they get like… I mean, for goodness sakes, if they’re going to list all the ingredients you get on pretty much, like, on food and everything else, why there all the ingredients listed on a pack of cigarettes? So I — I — I mean, I smoke a cigarette occasionally myself, so don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-tobacco at all, but I wouldn’t it be nice for people to know what they’re getting?

RUSH: This is such a multifaceted answer. In the first place…

CALLER: (Disconnects.)

RUSH: He hung up. Where to start with this? My starting point is: it breaks my heart, folks, every time I get a phone call from somebody who wants to give the government more power, number one. Thinking only the government can protect us. What is the point? Jerry, I know you’re still out there. You said you’d be out there. If you’re going to smoke cigarettes anyway, what does it matter? You have experience smoking cigarettes. You were alive enough to call me and talk about it and to say that you’re going to do it again, what do you care? You obviously don’t care now what’s in these things, because you’re smoking them, so what the hell? Why give the government all this power? Number two: the FDA is so bloated and big, the idea here that you’re going to give them control over an agricultural product like this is going to open the doors to them getting all kinds of control. Wait ’til they tell you how much trans-fat you can have in your kitchen. We’re already there in a lot of places, in restaurant kitchens and so forth. Cigarettes are what they are. Everybody knows it. The idea that we need to ban further advertising and we need to put bigger warning labels on there is just a bunch of libs who won’t leave you alone! When you as an American have freedom — and we do — the freedom encompasses a lot of things, including the right to do dumb stuff, to do destructive things. You have that right, and liberals somehow, for some reason want to just take control of every aspect of your life as possible, and every time you accede to letting them have it, or big government — which is primarily run by liberals and these agencies and so forth, the career appointments, the bureaucrats and so forth; that’s who primarily populates them — you’re just letting them have more and more control over your life. Now, you say, ‘What’s wrong with them regulating this? What’s wrong with them regulating that?’ Where do you stop that? What’s wrong with people regulating themselves? Where did that vanish to? I’ll tell you where it vanished. It vanished with the coming of age of liberalism that says people can’t live their lives because they’re too stupid. It’s all about control, Jerry, and they have enough control over our lives as is.


RUSH: I had an e-mail from a friend here listening intently on the discussion about the FDA regulating tobacco products. My friend says, ‘Why doesn’t the FDA focus on such things as food supplies and food imported from China that’s tainted and so forth? Why the political agenda with smoking? It’s as you said, Rush, because you know everything. Everybody knows about cigarettes already. If you don’t at this point, knowing about cigarettes, there’s nothing the FDA is going to tell you that you’re going to understand,’ because if you’re too stupid to understand about cigarettes by now, nothing can make you understand them! By the way, Disney-branded films are going to ban depictions of smoking. Ah, I understand that. If you go to the movies, you know that they depict smoking as cool, and that will influence the wittle childwen, there’s no question about it. But, as long as they’re going to do that, if they’re going to ban depictions of smoking, will they ban depictions of murder, mayhem, rape, terrorism, and other (ahem!) forms of bad health? (sigh) I can give you the answer to that. No. I’ll tell you what the FDA needs to do, folks. The simple fact of the matter, the FDA, instead of this political agenda with cigarettes and tobacco and all that, there’s a bunch of drugs out there, life saving drugs; it takes years and gazillions of dollars to get these damn things approved. That’s what needs to happen at the FDA, is that process needs to be sped up. No question about it at all.

Oh, by the way, and, by the way, have you seen the story? I’m sure you have: ‘Police across the country should be on the lookout for what could be dry runs for a terrorist attack, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Advised local cops this after a series of suspicious incidents occurred at US airports. In one case last September, a couple in Baltimore checked a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag containing a cell phone charger. Earlier this month in San Diego, a passenger checked a bag containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay in them instead of the normal blue gel.’ So they’re out there thinking that potential terrorists are out there conducting dry runs. Now, we all know this can’t be true because we know that the Transportation Security Administration have to be overreacting here. They’re just overreacting to the panic that has swept the country. Terrorism is a bumper sticker! There is no war on terror. There isn’t one. This is just some pranks. It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it, folks. It’s another one of these crisis things trying to get you all worried for no reason.

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