Statement: Applauding the Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation To Grant the FDA Authority Over Tobacco

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Apr. 6 2000

Washington, DC - Just two weeks after the Supreme Court called tobacco the nation’s most serious public health threat, we are delighted to see the first steps in a bipartisan effort to reinstate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority over tobacco. We have now seen the introduction of three strong bills to grant the FDA this authority, one by Representatives Ganske, Dingell, Waxman and others today, one by Mr. Waxman and co-sponsored by Mr. Ganske and Mr. Dingell, and one by Senators Harkin, Chafee and Graham.

We applaud Representatives Ganske, Dingell and Waxman for showing bipartisan leadership in introducing this strong legislation today. These bills are the first bipartisan FDA proposals in the House. We welcome them, and we look forward to continuing to work with these congressional leaders to enact FDA legislation into law.

In the Senate, Senators Harkin, Chafee, and Graham are introducing a strong, bipartisan bill. We are also hopeful that Senator Frist will introduce the FDA provisions of the McCain bill that he authored and which had the support of the public health community.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that the obligation to protect our kids and the public from tobacco falls squarely on Congress. Congress should enact the strongest possible law granting the FDA authority over tobacco products, just like it has over all other food and drug products. We support the various bills that are being introduced as positive steps toward achieving this goal.

It is also important to note that these bills reflect the views of the American public. A recent poll conducted for the CAMPAIGN showed that, by a three to one margin (75 percent to 22 percent), voters want Congress to pass a bill that would give the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. This support crosses all geographic, demographic, gender, and political lines, with majorities of voters in every region, age bracket, income group, education level and political party favoring FDA regulation.

It is time for the congressional leadership to heed this bipartisan call to action and join in protecting America’s kids from tobacco.

 

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