07.23.07

ENZI ANTI-TOBACCO “HEALTH ACT” vs. DEMOCRAT “MARLBORO PROTECTION ACT”

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today highlighted the key differences between tobacco legislation he introduced, which will wipe out tobacco use in America in the next 20 years, and a Democrat bill that would require regulation of tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Tobacco kills. We need new ideas to get people to stop smoking, or better yet, never to start. That’s what my legislation does,” Enzi said. “The Democrat alternative just preserves the status quo for Big Tobacco, and at the end of the day, it throws away a lot of money.” Enzi introduced the “Help End Addiction to Lethal Tobacco Habits Act” (HEALTH Act), S. 1834, last week. The HELP Committee is scheduled to vote on the Democrat “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” S. 625, on Wednesday. 1. The Enzi anti-tobacco bill will nearly wipe out tobacco use over the next generation. The Democrat “Marlboro Protection” bill will have little impact on the number of smokers in the United States. “Imagine an America without tobacco. An America where Big Tobacco couldn’t lure your children into a deadly habit. An America where your friends and loved ones didn’t tragically die young from the effects of this poison. And an America where your medical costs would be significantly lower without tobacco-related illnesses,” Enzi said. “That’s an America I’d like to live in – wouldn’t you?” The Enzi anti-tobacco bill would establish an innovative cap-and-trade program that will shrink the of the tobacco market over 20 years, by reducing the of the tobacco market from 21 percent of Americans to 2 percent of the population. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Democrat bill would have no impact on adult smoking, and would only reduce youth smoking by a mere 12.5 percent. Enzi’s bill would also utilize strong, bold warnings on tobacco product packaging to convey the truth in no uncertain terms about these deadly products. “Other countries have discovered innovative ways to re-empha the risks of tobacco. Their warnings work,” Enzi said. “If your children are thinking about taking up this deadly habit, I want them to have a bit of a shock when they look at the package. And smokers should think about these health messages each time they light up.” 2. The Democrat bill requires FDA to regulate tobacco and nicotine, but specifically denies FDA the authority to ban these deadly products. The Enzi anti-tobacco bill preserves FDA’s current authority to pull all deadly products from the market. “The FDA approves cures, not poisons. It cannot be forced into the position of approving products we all know are dangerous, without also having the authority to ban these products,” Enzi said.The Democrat bill would gut the authority that Congress has bestowed and staunchly defended for the FDA – the authority to remove health threats from the marketplace. Enzi’s bill does not require FDA to regulate tobacco, but it does give the agency the explicit authority to remove these products from the market, just as FDA has authority to remove deadly drugs and devices from the market. 3. The Democrat bill attempts to create a “safer cigarette.” The Enzi anti-tobacco bill recognizes that no cigarette is safe. “When I listen to the American people, they don’t want their children to smoke ‘safer cigarettes.’ They know that there is no such thing,” Enzi said. “The Democrat bill would allow Big Tobacco to deceive the American people into believing that certain tobacco products are somehow safe. Let me be clear – they’re not.”Enzi’s bill focuses on programs to help people stop smoking and encourage children never to start.4. The Democrat bill sets up a huge, expensive bureaucracy that will not stop smoking. The Enzi anti-tobacco bill uses market forces to wipe out tobacco. “The Democrat bill will likely require FDA to hire nearly 2,000 new employees. It will cost billions of dollars,” Enzi said. “And it doesn’t do enough to stop children from smoking or help adults quit.” The Enzi bill would leverage market forces to reduce the tobacco market dramatically. It gives companies the flexibility to make these reductions in the most cost- effective manner. 5. The Democrat bill adds significant, costly new burdens to an agency already struggling. The Enzi anti-tobacco bill does not. “Every day, we hear about some new problem the Food and Drug Administration faces in protecting our health,” Enzi said. “From contaminated seafood to tainted toothpaste, this agency is in dire need of Congressional support to carry out its mission. We should instead be focusing our efforts on increasing the number of inspectors for food and drugs, and on renewing the expiring drug and device user fee laws. Reauthorizing these programs is critical to ensure that new drugs and medical devices reach the patients who need them.” ####

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