Statement: Regarding U.S. House Approval of Foreign Sales Corporation Bill Providing $100 Million in Tax Breaks for U.S. Tobacco Companies

Statement of William V. Corr, Executive Vice President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Sep. 13 2000

Washington, DC — The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS strongly opposes the tax breaks for the export of manufactured tobacco products contained in the Foreign Sales Corporation Repeal and Extraterritorial Income Exclusion Act (H.R. 4986) as approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives. It is especially disappointing that the House Leadership brought up this legislation under expedited procedures that blocked any amendments, such as that proposed by Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) to exclude manufactured tobacco products. Once again, Big Tobacco is being rewarded for millions of dollars in campaign contributions at the expense of American taxpayers and public health around the globe. We urge the Senate to put taxpayers and the public health first and vote to deny Big Tobacco this special benefit.

In its current form, this legislation would provide a $100 million plus annual tax benefit for U.S. tobacco companies. The tobacco industry should not receive any assistance from the U.S. government in their quest to addict new generations of smokers overseas. And they should certainly not be rewarded with special tax benefits given their long history of deception and misconduct concerning their deadly products.

The dangers of nicotine addiction to American children are well known: 3,000 kids become regular smokers each day in the U.S, and one third will die prematurely of smoking-caused disease. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. But these dangers do not stop at our shores. Globally, the World Bank estimates that between 80,000 and 100,000 kids become addicted to cigarettes every day. Big Tobacco, with the unwitting support of American taxpayers, is addicting countless new generations of smokers overseas. Tobacco-related illnesses kill four million people a year around the world. If current trends continue, by 2030, tobacco will kill ten million people every year, 70 percent of them in developing countries. The United States government should not be a partner in the export of death and disease by U.S. tobacco companies.

 

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