America should become a smoke-free nation as part of a larger plan to improve public health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has recommended. Good health begins with eating well, not smoking and exercise, said Mark McClellan, M.D., director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution and a former CMS administrator in the George W. Bush administration, at a meeting to release the recommendations.
Eliminating smoking was one of 10 solutions drafted by the foundations Commission to Build a Healthier America, placing a heavy emphasis on better nutrition programs for children and families, and integrating health and wellness into community life.
These recommendations were released just as the House approved legislation granting the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco. The bill would enable the FDA to restrict tobacco marketing, including advertising and promotion of tobacco to youth, as well as require changes to tobacco products to protect public health.
Some House members, including Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), didnt think the FDA was equipped to deal with a task as broad as regulating tobacco. Until the agency is able to demonstrate on a consistent basis they have the capacity to do all we currently require of them, we should not give them any additional responsibilities, Burgess said.