Philip Morris Cos., the nation’s largest tobacco producer, is willing to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the marketing of cigarettes for the first time, a top company official said. Although the details would have to be worked out in negotiations, the move marks a major shift by a company that has steadfastly resisted government regulation for decades. “I could see at some point in the future an appropriate way to regulate tobacco products,” said Steven Parrish, the company’s senior vice president, in a phone interview. The industry only agreed in the past to some federal regulation in exchange for settling an onslaught of lawsuits by states seeking to recover the costs of treating ill smokers. But that offer was never put into effect because federal tobacco legislation aimed at implementing it failed in a bitter fight in the Senate two years ago. The resurrection of the issue comes in the midst of a major effort by Philip Morris to rehabilitate its public image following recent revelations that the tobacco industry knew much more about the dangers and addictiveness of smoking than previously acknowledged. Nevertheless, the move was hailed as a major advance by some of the industry’s most vocal critics.
Philip Morris Exec Sees FDA Role in Industry