May. 16 2000
Washington, DC — Senators Bill Frist and John McCain today had the opportunity to provide continued leadership in protecting the public health by giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration meaningful authority to regulate tobacco products. Instead, they have significantly weakened their 1998 legislation, allowing Senate Republicans and the tobacco industry in this election year to support a bill that sounds good but does little or nothing. The result is that this bill will polarize the debate along party lines and make it almost impossible to pass legislation this year. In the meantime, more kids will become addicted to tobacco and more adults will die from tobacco-related disease.
We applaud Senator Edward Kennedy for reintroducing the much stronger 1998 legislation, and we regret that it will be considered in this partisan atmosphere.
We are deeply saddened that Senators Frist and McCain have chosen this course of action and abandoned the bipartisan legislation they introduced in 1998. We look forward to working with Senators of both parties in a less partisan environment to enact legislation that will truly protect our kids and the public health.