Jul. 10 1997
Washington, DC - The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS today called the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee’s decision to increase funding for enforcement of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Tobacco Rule provisions a positive and critical step in breaking the cycle of tobacco addiction. Yesterday, the Committee approved an additional $9 million in FDA funding, bringing the total earmarked for the agency’s anti-tobacco enforcement efforts to $24 million. The first phase of the FDA Tobacco Rule went into effect in February, and requires retailers to check the photo identification of tobacco purchasers who appear younger than 27. The increased funding will primarily go to the states, giving state and local officials the resources they need for enforcement programs designed to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors. "The additional $9 million is essential in keeping tobacco out of the hands of kids. We are pleased that the Committee, under pressure from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, demonstrated that it stands on the side of America’s kids, and hope the entire $34 million will be restored by the full House," said Matthew Myers, CAMPAIGN executive vice president and general counsel. "While the Committee action is commendable, much more still needs to be done to arrest the pediatric epidemic of tobacco use." Congresswoman DeLauro (D-CT), a member of the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, participated in the CAMPAIGN’s June 17 press conference on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, where she called on her colleagues to protect America’s kids. Each day, 3,000 kids become regular smokers, and one-third of them will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease. Smoking among high school seniors is at a 17-year high, and almost 90 percent of all adult smokers began at or before the age of 18. "Studies show that, on average, children are able to buy tobacco products 67 percent of the time, despite the fact that it is illegal for these products to be sold to minors in all 50 states," Myers said. "The vote to increase the FDA appropriation is a step in the right direction, and we hope that the funding will continue to receive similar -- if not greater -- support throughout the remainder of the appropriation process." 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 on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children, and making tobacco less accessible to kids.