United States of America - The Supreme Court has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lacks the power to regulate tobacco. In 1996, the FDA decided that it could regulate tobacco in the light of new evidence that demonstrated the industry's intention to feed consumers' nicotine habits.
In the 5 to 4 ruling, the judges said that Congress had not given the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco. The Court agreed that tobacco use, particularly among children and adolescents, poses perhaps the single most significant threat to public health in the United States. However, it said that regulations on tobacco were the responsibility of Congress.
The FDA's antismoking initiative would have required retailers to check the identification of cigarette buyers under the age of 27 and would have prohibited cigarette vending machines except in bars and other adult-only places.
Reference: News. British Medical Journal, 320: 894 (2000).