CAPITOL HILL (AP) - No one says this could lead to a safer cigarette, but supporters of a bill expected to pass a key Senate committee this week say it should lead to safer smokes.
They want to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the levels of tar, nicotine and other hazardous materials in tobacco products. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, more than 40 of them known cancer-causers.
The legislation also would let the government control how cigarettes are made and force the disclosure of their ingredients. Supporters claim all this should expose and ultimately limit the ways cigarettes are engineered to hook people and keep them addicted.
Opponents of the bill worry the public will assume cigarettes are safe if they're regulated by the FDA.
Smoking kills more than 400,000 Americans a year and is responsible for nearly one out of five deaths.