A bill to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) control over tobacco will actually protect the tobacco industry to such an extent that Fortune magazine has dubbed it the "Altria Earnings Protection Act." Why? Because the bill prevents FDA from ever banning cigarettes, which assures the existence of a cigarette market into the future. The bill's wording also makes it very tough for tobacco companies to introduce new products, since they would have to be judged "appropriate for the protection of the public health." It even orders a crackdown on counterfeit cigarette sales, which will help protect established companies. All these factors will help preserve the status quo for the tobacco business, cementing Altria's 51 percent market share into the foreseeable future.
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