Cutting Cigarette Deaths "Good For Business"-- But Not Right Now

Newly-introduced federal legislation would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a measure of authority over the manufacturing, marketing and advertising of tobacco products. HR 1108, also known as "The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act," predictably focuses primarily on youth, and not adult smoking--territory where Philip Morris' public relations machine has succeeded admirably in helping the company avoid regulation. In supporting the bill, Steven C. Parrish, Senior VP of Corporate Affairs at PM's parent company, Altria Group, said "In the long term, it's good for business if fewer people get sick and die from smoking." Indeed. But if PM really believes that fewer people dying from using its products is good business, why wait? PM is could voluntarily stop engineering cigarettes for addiction and promoting cigarettes right now. But it isn't. It's waiting for the Feds to make it. We should ask why, and exactly what in this bill benefits PM.