By- Ritul Tyagi

The U.S. Supreme Court, rejecting the Clinton administration’s unprecedented effort to regulate how cigarettes are sold and marketed within the u. s. has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lacks the facility to manage tobacco.

In the 5 to 4 ruling, the judges said that the FDA overreached its authority when it reversed a decade’s old policy in 1996 and sought to confine on cigarette sales to minors.“By no means will we question the seriousness of the matter that the FDA has sought to deal with,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote for the court. “The agency has amply demonstrated that tobacco use, particularly among children and adolescents, poses perhaps the one most vital threat to public health within us.”However, she added, “It is apparent that Congress has not given the FDA the authority that it seeks to exercise here.”

Justice O’Connor was joined in her opinion by the Supreme Court’s more politically conservative jurists—Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas. Dissenting were Justices Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Writing on behalf of the four dissenters, Justice Breyer said that federal law does allow the FDA to control tobacco. “Far quite most, this particular drug and device risk the life-threatening harms that administrative regulation seeks to rectify,” he added.

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The FDA’s antismoking initiative would have required retailers to test the identification of cigarette buyers under the age of 27 and would have prohibited cigarette vending machines except in bars and other adults-only places. Although the foundations were restrained by some standards, they’d way more symbolic importance because the first test of FDA authority to manage the powerful industry.

The executive called the 1996 initiative the FDA’s most significant public health and safety effort within the past 50 years. the simplest thanks to hamper on smoking was to cut back the number of teenagers who started the habit, officials contended.

The FDA has said for many years that under a 1938 law it lacked authority to manage tobacco as long as cigarette makers didn’t claim that smoking provided health benefits.
Tobacco companies sued, and also the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1998 that the FDA couldn’t regulate tobacco. The court said that regulations on tobacco were the responsibility of Congress, which previously had banned broadcast advertising of tobacco, prohibited smoking on airlines, and required warning labels on cigarette packages.

During an appeal of that ruling before the Supreme Court last December, the law officer, Seth Waxman, argued on behalf of the Clinton administration that the FDA could regulate tobacco as a drug because nicotine was “highly addictive.” It also acted as a stimulant, a sedative, a suppressant, and fed smokers’ addictions.

Forty states backed the government’s appeal. But the tobacco industry’s lawyer argued that if FDA regulations were allowed, the govt would be forced to ban tobacco products because that they were not safe.