Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Asks: Why is Rep. Doyle Sponsoring Legislation That Protects Big Tobacco Instead of Our Kids?
WASHINGTON, July 26 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS today criticized U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) for sponsoring legislation that that does more to protect the tobacco industry than the American public.
Doyle is one of only 14 members of Congress who have sponsored H.R. 2180, a tobacco regulation bill sought by the nation's largest tobacco company, Philip Morris, and introduced recently by U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.). Altogether, the 14 supporters of the bill have received over $200,000 in tobacco campaign contributions since 1995, including almost $90,000 from Philip Morris.
In a letter to Congress, the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association stated: "In short, this bill, if enacted, would do more harm than good. That is why every major public health organization in the country opposes the bill." These groups say the bill would allow the tobacco companies to continue marketing to kids and deceiving the public about their products. As a result, 3,000 kids would continue to become addicted every day and 400,000 Americans would continue to die each year of tobacco-caused disease.
Public health groups support another bill, H.R. 1097, introduced by U.S. Reps. Greg Ganske (R-Iowa), John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Both bills concern granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate tobacco products. But public health groups say only the Ganske bill would allow the FDA to restrict tobacco marketing and sales to kids and require the reduction or elimination of harmful constituents in tobacco products.
"It is unfortunate that Congressman Doyle has signed on to legislation that protects the tobacco industry instead of our kids," said Matthew L. Myers, president of the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS. "We urge him to reconsider this decision immediately and have his name taken off the bill -- just as Reps. Bono (R-Calif.) and Ferguson (R-N.J.) have already done."
"If current trends continue, 274,000 Pennsylvania kids alive today will die prematurely of tobacco-related illness. If Congressman Doyle wants to help reverse these trends, he should take his name off of Philip Morris' bill and join us in supporting real FDA authority over tobacco. If he does, he can help save lives, and Pennsylvania's kids will be the winners instead of the tobacco industry," Myers said.
To thwart effective public health policies, the tobacco industry has made more than $26.7 million in campaign contributions at the federal level since 1995. Philip Morris has given the most of any tobacco company, including $2.3 million in unregulated "soft money" during the most recent election.