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Panel Criticizes Tobacco Settlement

A panel of the nation’s leading public health experts, set up to advise Congress on the proposed $368.5 billion tobacco settlement, on Wednesday called the agreement unacceptable because it would undermine the government’s ability to regulate nicotine in cigarettes.

In the first major concerted response by health advocates to the proposed settlement negotiated by the industry, plaintiffs’ lawyers and state attorneys general, the special committee said it contained another major flaw: that the proposed penalties on the nation’s cigarette makers if they failed to reduce smoking levels among young people were far too small to have any impact.

The panel includes representatives of the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, as well as several anti-smoking groups.

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