Kessler Takes On Tobacco

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Former FDA head David Kessler went to the White House today to press his recommendation the Administration reject the $368.5 billion settlement between Big Tobacco and the state attorneys general because the deal would limit the government's power to regulate nicotine as an addictive drug. A Congressional commission headed by Kessler and former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, which had indicated its serious misgivings about the settlement two weeks ago, presented Al Gore with its recommendations for making the deal work. Especially upsetting to the Koop-Kessler commission is a provision forbidding a nicotine ban for 12 years and requiring a lengthy court hearing if the agency even wants to restrict the levels of nicotine. The commission also called for stiffer fines against tobacco companies if teenage smoking does not start to drop within two years, instead of the five-year timeframe the settlement proposes.