Fred Smith, the president of the Competititve Enterprise Institute, makes the case against pending federal legislation that would “[p]ut the Food and Drug Administration in charge of regulating tobacco in exchange for a buyout of farming quotas.” The proposed deal would, according to Smith, “strengthen the nanny state at the expense of individual choice, increase black market activity, hurt lower-income consumers, and, perversely, create new health risks for all Americans.” (Fred L. Smith, Jr., “The FDA poses threat to our health, liberty,” Investor’s Business Daily, June 21 (PDF file)).
Quota buyout legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on June 17 as title VII (the “Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004”) of H.R. 4520, the “American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.” The focus now shifts to the Senate, which is apparently considering the deal outlined by Smith’s op-ed. For more on this, see Will Snell & Kelly Tiller, “Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004,” U. of Ky. Dept. of Ag. Econ., June 2004 (PDF file); Jasper Womach, “Tobacco Quota Buyout Proposals in the 108th Congress,” Congressional Research Service, updated April 6 (PDF file); Blake Brown & Gary Bullen, “Tobacco Buyout,” N.C. State U. Dept. of Ag. & Resource Economics.