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Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents

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History of Tobacco Regulation*

CONCLUSION

The big question is how the Federal government plans to proceed. Six tobacco bills are now pending in Congress. One of these bills would give the Federal Trade Commission authority to set maximum permissible limits on tar and nicotine. Another would establish a graduated cigarette tax based on tar content.

The FTC is presently carrying on negotiations with the industry to come up with a "clear and conspicuous" health warning for its print advertising. It is expected that the industry, " which has been working closely with the FTC 'will' take some 'voluntary' labeling action" (Where Cigarette Makers Spend, 1971: 57).

The industry feels the pressure; one member explains: "We are resigned to it. Over-all.... the industry mood is much more relaxed-now that we have this first big year behind us" (Where Cigarette Makers Spend, 1971: 57).

The public is clamoring for government action; a 1970 College Poll'. surveying-youths 18 and older on more than 100 campuses reveals that 96% believe that smoking is dangerous to one's health (College Poll, 1971).

Further, a 1969 study on teenage (13- to 18-yearolds) smoking attitudes, motivation and habits indicates "deep teenage dissatisfaction with cigarette smoking, considerable knowledge of its ill effects, but a very exaggerated estimate of the acceptance of smoking by the adult world" (Lieberman Research, 1969: 1-20). And, a 1970 nationwide survey of teenagers revealed: "72% of non-smokers identified physicians as the one group that could persuade them not to start smoking and 42% of those who smoked said their physician's advice would influence them to stop" (Doctors, 1970: 24).

Critics of the industry claim: "The controversy about smoking and health continues largely because of the energy, time and money spent by the tobacco industry in keeping this controversy alive" (College Poll, 1971).

In September, 1935, Fortune Magazine published a discussion of the medical implications of smoking. It concluded that:

This much can be said: That the possible benefit to be derived from tobacco is always less than the possible harm (Robert, 1949: 256).

Official policy has never accepted this judgment. In recent years, steps have been taken to discourage smoking, although there is little conclusive evidence that consumption patterns are changing. It can be expected that official policy and alterations in individual behavior will both evolve slowly during the coming years. The socioeconomic impact of a sudden change in official policy would be great, a circumstance reflecting the momentum of several centuries of intense commercial activity.


References

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7 USC 511 (b) (d), 1935.

7 USC 515, 1936.

7 USC 1303,1938.

7 USC 1312, 1938.

7 USC 1314, 1938.

26-USC -5701, et seq.



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