No Deal On Tobacco Industry Proposal
NO DEAL ON TOBACCO INDUSTRY PROPOSAL
HON. FORTNEY PETE STARK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday, June 4, 1996
Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, recently two tobacco industry giants, Philip
Morris USA and United States Tobacco [UST], presented a gift to the
American people: their approach to how the industry and the Federal
Government could work together to reduce youth smoking. Their present
was beautifully wrapped with an agreement to ban cigarette vending
machines, to restrict mail distribution of tobacco products, and to
prohibit billboard advertising of tobacco products within 1,000 feet of
schools--all of which would be greatly effective in decreasing youth
smoking, an injurious activity that one out of every three American
high school students take part in. But once we tear away the ribbons
and packaging on this present, we find that all that's left is gag gift
from the tobacco industry. The Philip Morris/UST proposal mocks the
health and welfare of our Nation's children and the tobacco industry
gets the last laugh.
The Philip Morris/UST proposal is an utter sham compared to the FDA's
The FDA proposed rule bans tobacco sponsorship of any athletic,
musical, artistic or other social or cultural event. Under their
proposal, the tobacco industry can sponsor motorsports and rodeo, two
events that the tobacco industry is heavily invested in. These sporting
events are the most commonly attended sporting events in the country.
The FDA proposed rule restricts tobacco advertisements to
publications with an adult readership of 85 percent or more and less
than 2 million readers under 18 years old. The industry proposal
changes readership to subscribers. Since most children and youths do
not subscribe to magazines, this provision becomes ineffectual.
The FDA proposed rule requires each tobacco manufacturer to
contribute to a $150 million public education campaign to discourage
youth from tobacco use. The tobacco industry doesn't even bother to
include this provision in their proposal.
But most importantly, the Philip Morris/UST proposal eliminates FDA
jurisdiction over tobacco products. This would effectively shut down
the FDA's ability to regulate tobacco at all with disastrous effects:
It would preempt the FDA from ruling that nicotine is a drug. It would
preempt the FDA from ruling that nicotine is addictive. And it would
preempt the FDA from ruling that a cigarette is a device used to
transmit an addictive drug. With no FDA jurisdiction over tobacco,
there is no agency with authority over nicotine-containing tobacco
We cannot allow the tobacco industry to go unregulated especially in
the area of youth smoking. The threat to our Nation's children is too
great. For example, in California alone:
Over 29 million packs of cigarettes are sold to California children
annually, generating $62.5 million in sales revenue for the tobacco
Teens under 18 can successfully purchase tobacco from one out of
three tobacco retailers in California.
Smoking among youth in California is increasing from 9.1 percent in
1993 to 10.9 percent in 1994.
And California is one of the leaders in anti-smoking efforts. I could
only imagine how bad the statistics would be if even our few laws
weren't in place.
Philip Morris and UST know that their public support has been reduced
to ashes. Since today is World No-Tobacco Day, I urge Congress to
embrace the FDA proposal, a comprehensive approach to reduce youth
tobacco use and reject the tobacco industry's sham proposal. No deal
for Philip Morris and UST. Our children's health is non-negotiable.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).