Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.: Opposed
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The FDA is overburdened, underfunded, and understaffed as it is. Given the critical importance of its core mission – protecting the food supply and overseeing the pharmaceutical industry – it would be unwise to make matters worse by adding tobacco regulation to its portfolio, especially when several other federal agencies are already performing that task. As the extraordinary bungling of the recent salmonella scare continues to play itself out, we can safely conclude that the FDA is in no position to undertake a greatly expanded regulatory portfolio.
Contact Sen. Dole at 202.224.6342. Web site: http://dole.senate.gov/public/
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.: Opposed
First, this bill would discourage manufacturers from offering reduced-risk tobacco products since they would become subject to long-term studies that could take up to 20 or 30 years and cost millions of dollars to complete. Why would we want to keep higher-risk products on store shelves by hamstringing the ability of manufacturers to bring lower-risk products to the market?
This bill would also severely impede the FDA's core mission. The primary goal of the FDA is to promote and protect public health. It is responsible for ensuring that food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics – 25 percent of the U.S. marketplace – are safe, effective and properly labeled. Making it responsible for approving products we know to be inherently dangerous seriously undermines and alters the mission of the FDA.
Additionally, if recent headlines about salmonella and the safety of the nation's food supply are any indication, the agency is already struggling to do its job. Adding tobacco to the list would stretch the FDA even more. In fact, the bill before Congress could force the agency to move staff and resources away from food and drug matters. This bill could result in more breakdowns in the safety of our food supply and longer approval times for life-saving drugs and medical devices. This is why the head of the FDA, who is also the former Director of the National Cancer Institute and a cancer survivor, opposes it. If we really want to make an impact on public health, we need to do more to ensure that kids don't start smoking. And for those Americans who are struggling to quit, we need to at least offer them safer options.
Contact Sen. Burr at 202.224.3154. Web site: http://burr.senate.gov/public/
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.: Opposed
His office issued this statement:
Senator DeMint has serious concerns with H.R. 1108, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which would raise taxes and provide authority for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products. Specifically, Senator DeMint questions the FDA's ability to effectively execute its mission to promote and protect the public health. Adding the regulation of tobacco will only further complicate the FDA bureaucracy and reduce its effectiveness. The recent salmonella outbreak has raised serious concerns with the FDA's ability to handle food crises. It prompted even top-level Democrats to question the agency's ability to carry out its regulatory mission. Finally, this legislation may have serious trade implications since it could have the effect of banning several foreign-manufactured tobacco products.
Contact Sen. DeMint at 202.224.6121. Web site: http://demint.senate.gov/public/
Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: Uncommitted
His office issued this statement:
While Sen. Graham has concerns about the impact on farmers and an already overburdened FDA, as with most issues he remains willing to hear all sides of the debate.
Contact Sen. Graham at 202.224.5972. Web site: http://lgraham.senate.gov/public/