New Poll Says FDA Should Regulate Tobacco Companies: Those Polled Support Stronger Regulation of Transnational Corporations Amid WTO Protest
BOSTON, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The national corporate accountability organization INFACT today released new data showing that the US public supports independent regulation of the tobacco industry in the US and around the world. A poll conducted for INFACT
As the US Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tobacco rules today, the poll shows that 69% of adults agree that the tobacco corporations should be regulated by the FDA. ``Despite attempts by industry leader Philip Morris to polish its corporate image, a strong majority of the US public remains committed to independent oversight of this deadly business,'' says INFACT Executive Director Kathryn Mulvey.
In the past year, Philip Morris and other tobacco corporations have spent billions of dollars trying to chip away at the resolve of the public and policymakers to institute federal controls over tobacco, including a $246 billion deal with attorneys general in 46 states last November. Last month, Philip Morris launched a $100 million campaign to improve its image. Now Philip Morris is arguing that the FDA should have no authority over tobacco because the corporation has admitted there is no way it could be safe and effective.
The EDK poll demonstrates that such legal maneuvering could backfire with the public. ``Animosity towards the tobacco industry is extremely high, along with a strong desire by Americans to regulate the industry. Whatever the tobacco corporations are doing, they haven't bought off public anger,'' says Ethel Klein of EDK Associates, the firm that conducted the poll.
The poll also demonstrates public support for corporate accountability in a global context. Almost four-fifths (79%) of US adults surveyed believe that people have a right to hold corporations accountable if their actions are harmful to human health and the environment. As the World Trade Organization (WTO) meets in Seattle this week, the eyes of the world are on transnational corporations and economic globalization-and their impact on political, economic, social, and environmental well-being.
Many organizations are highly critical of the trade body for weakening global standards on labor and the environment in the interest of corporate profits. The poll shows that two-thirds (67%) of Americans do not believe that corporations should expand internationally in order to escape limitations on marketing dangerous products in the US.
``People are concerned not just about how corporations like Philip Morris affect our physical health, but our political health as well,'' notes Ethel Klein. The poll reveals that two-thirds (67%) of the US public believes that the political influence of giant corporations, such as tobacco companies, weakens our democracy.
``The public's desire to reverse the tobacco epidemic does not stop at our own borders, with the FDA regulations. This poll demonstrates that the US public is likely to support initiatives like the World Health Organization's proposed treaty to control tobacco,'' Mulvey concludes. Sixty-eight percent (68%) agree that there is a need for independent regulation of the tobacco corporations in the US and around the world.
The results of the poll are based upon random-digit-dialed telephone interviews with 800 adults nationwide. All interviews were conducted between October 18-20, 1999. For a sample of this size one can say with 95% certainty that the error due to sampling could be plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Founded in 1977, INFACT's purpose is to stop life-threatening abuses of transnational corporations and increase their accountability to people around the world. INFACT is known for the successful Nestle and GE Boycotts. For more information about INFACT, visit www.infact.org