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Critics say the Hagan-Burr proposal would create an agency that could easily be influenced by the tobacco industry. Moreover, they say, it would take years and cost billions of dollars to start a new agency as opposed to granting regulatory authority to the FDA.
Dodd warns the agency proposed by Hagan and Burr would lack any meaningful authority to require changes to tobacco products and would not strengthen warning labels on cigarette packs.
If their call for a new agency fails, Hagan and GOP allies could propose amendments to lessen the bills impact on tobacco companies. They could propose ending FDA regulation if there are not decreases in youth smoking or could seek limits on the fees the FDA charges tobacco manufacturers.
Public health interest groups are lining up in support of the Democrats bill, among them the American Cancer Societys Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association. They cite statistics that show 12,000 North Carolina residents die annually from tobacco use.
But Burr counters its pretty easy to sit here and bash manufacturers. He says the companies already do a lot to prevent marketing to children.