Jun. 25 1998
Washington, DC - The House Republican leadership today announced a proposed set of principles for legislation that falls far short of the goal of protecting kids from tobacco addiction. Despite the ENACT (Effective National Action to Control Tobacco) Coalition’s disappointment with these principles, the group restated its willingness to work with representatives of both parties to fashion truly effective, bipartisan legislation to protect kids from tobacco marketing and sales. With tobacco use on the rise among our nation‘s children, and based on the revelations of tobacco industry wrongdoing over the past year, it is clear that only tough, comprehensive legislation will succeed in reigning in the tobacco industry and reducing tobacco use among America’s children. The proposal announced by the Republican leadership today does far less than what is minimally needed: ? FDA Authority – Effective FDA oversight of the tobacco industry is a necessary centerpiece of any serious effort to reduce tobacco use among children. The House leadership proposal will weaken FDA’s authority over tobacco, not strengthen it. It will even curtail FDA’s authority to restrict the illegal sale of tobacco products to children. ? Penalizing Kids – The proposal places more blame on children who are addicted to tobacco than on the tobacco companies who market to children and retailers who sell to them. ? Inadequate Regulation of Tobacco Advertising - The proposal will deprive the FDA of authority over tobacco advertising and maintain the inadequate status quo by leaving the FTC with limited authority over tobacco advertising. The FTC already has such authority and has been ineffective in restricting advertising that has the greatest impact on children. ? Unfunded Programs - The proposal includes a public education campaign, but does not provide a mechanism for sustained funding for it. In addition, this proposal lacks a number of critical components necessary to reduce tobacco use among kids, including: ? Penalties If Tobacco Use Among Children Does Not Decline - The proposal will not penalize tobacco companies if tobacco use among children does not fall, even if their marketing efforts are responsible for the continued use of tobacco by our nation’s children. ? Price Increase - The Republican leadership has not included one of the most important elements of any comprehensive program -- a substantial price increase. The ENACT Coalition is prepared to work with the House Republican leadership and all Members of Congress to craft and pass legislation in this Congressional session that will be effective in ending tobacco’s grip on American’s children. ENACT is a Washington, DC-based coalition of 50 national public health organizations dedicated to the enactment of bipartisan, sustainable, effective, well-funded tobacco control legislation.