Mar. 10 1998
Washington, DC - "Do you know that cigarettes expose smokers to ammonia, arsenic, and formaldehyde? You would if these ingredients were in cookies or aspirin." With these opening lines, the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS makes the case for full FDA authority over tobacco products in a print advertising campaign launched this week. "It is time to bring the regulation of tobacco in line with other consumer products," said Bill Novelli,CAMPAIGN president. "Although tobacco causes more than 400,000 deaths each year, tobacco products have escaped even the most common sense public health regulations for forty years. Full FDA authority is at the heart of any meaningful comprehensive national solution." Any tobacco control legislation Congress considers must give FDA the full authority to: regulate tobacco products; restrict youth access to these products; restrict tobacco marketing aimed at children; force tobacco companies to tell the truth about the health effects of their products; and remove the poisons from their products. "FDA jurisdiction is at the heart of any comprehensive approach. Nothing should be done which would curtail FDA’s authority or weaken FDA’s ability to carry out comprehensive efforts to reduce tobacco use among kids," said Matthew Myers, executive vice president of the CAMPAIGN. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act provides the FDA the authority to regulate a wide array of consumer products. In 1996, FDA asserted jurisdiction over tobacco products under the drug and device provisions of the Act. This was done after the emergence of a scientific consensus that tobacco products cause addiction to nicotine, as well as the release of thousands of industry documents detailing the intended effects of the products. That jurisdiction was upheld by a federal court and is not being appealed by the tobacco industry. The advertisement, which is running this week in Congress Daily, Congressional Quarterly, The Washington Post, and other national publications, goes on to say, "…the tobacco companies have kept the ingredients of cigarettes and smoke a secret for more than forty years and used their political power to prevent the FDA from protecting consumers…Congress must give the FDA full authority to force the tobacco companies to tell us the truth…" A copy of the ad follows. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest initiative ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Its mandate is to focus the nation’s attention and action on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children, and making tobacco less accessible to kids.