Jun. 25 1997
Washington, DC - Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture took the first Congressional action on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Tobacco Rule, and the result was very disappointing. The failure to give states adequate funding for this important youth access provision is a troubling sign about Congress’ commitment to protect children from deadly tobacco products. The Clinton Administration requested $34 million to be used primarily for grants to state agencies to enforce the FDA Rule provision requiring that stores check the photo identification of anyone attempting to buy tobacco products who appears younger than 27 years of age. By allocating only $15 million for this program, the Subcommittee has severely weakened the FDA’s effort to make it harder for kids to buy tobacco. Today’s failure to protect kids from tobacco could not have come at a worse time, as smoking among high school seniors is at a 17-year high. A review of 13 studies of over-the-counter sales found that minors can illegally buy cigarettes a disturbing 67 percent of the time. And, according to a recent CAMPAIGN survey, 92 percent of the American public supports the FDA’s ID check requirements. If Congress is serious about keeping tobacco out of the hands of minors, it must be reflected in its budget priorities. We are confident that as more Members of Congress realize the importance of stopping youth access to tobacco, our children will eventually win this fight. To this end, the CAMPAIGN will continue its ongoing efforts to ensure that the FDA receives full funding for its tobacco initiative and that it is allowed to implement the program as designed.