The Marlboro Monopoly Act or Breakthrough Law?

Smokers are getting boxed in even more tightly. A story in last night’s WSJ said that Congress is poised to put the tobacco industry under the regulation of the FDA. To some people in the business, this actually is a huge win for tobacco’s biggest company, Altria, because it freezes market share at today’s level, leaving the Marlboro man at the top of the pack.

Detractors call the new legislation “The Marlboro Monopoly Act” because after it passes, the only magazine ad we’ll see are dull gray ‘tombstone’ ads full of disturbing text, and half of each side of each pack will scream out a warning against smoking. No one will be able to gain market share with ads and packaging like this.

Makers won’t be able to call their cigs ‘mild’ ‘lite’ or ‘low tar’ on the pack. This should also make creating a cigarette billboard pretty tough.

While a veto-proof Congress is celebrating and calling it a great victory ‘for the children’ other reps aren’t so happy. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) calls it a “peace treaty with Philip Morris, [and] no way to win war on tobacco.