02.27.07

ENZI REJECTS BILL TO ALLOW “FDA-APPROVED” CIGARETTES

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today rejected a bill to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco without having the authority to ban it, arguing that “just having the FDA review and approve cigarettes sends mixed and confusing messages to the public – creating the sense that cigarettes are safe or made safer.” “The FDA approves cures, not poisons,” Enzi said. “Forcing the FDA to regulate tobacco but not letting them ban it would undermine the long history of the agency protecting and promoting the public health. Today, we should ask ourselves: What will it mean to have cigarette and tobacco products truly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration?” At a HELP Committee hearing held today titled “The Need for FDA Regulation of Tobacco,” Enzi said that proposal to give the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco, but not ban it, would put the world’s foremost public health protector in the position of approving a product that years of science and personal experience of many Americans have shown to be dangerous. “The ‘Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act’ would gut the authority that Congress has bestowed and staunchly defended for the FDA – the authority to remove health threats from the marketplace,” Enzi said. “It baffles me why we are here today to talk about the FDA doing a risk/benefit analysis of tobacco and cigarettes. Everyone agrees that smoking kills, and there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ cigarette.” “We can all agree on what our common interest is – stopping people of all ages from starting to smoke and convincing current smokers to quit that deadly habit. I am no friend of big tobacco: I’ve never taken a dime of tobacco company money for my campaigns, and I don’t intend to start now.” “But I absolutely reject the notion that the way to show you’re ‘for kids’ and ‘against Big Tobacco’ is by sending the Nation's premier public health watchdog out to fight for safety with one hand tied behind its back.” The proposed bill would force this premier agency to provide its FDA seal of approval on a deadly product that has no health benefit, Enzi added.

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