Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 23, 2004
2:53 PM
CONTACT:  Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Debra Rosen
202.478.6175
 
Tobacco-Free Kids Launches Campaign to Stop Congress’ Sweetheart Deal for Big Tobacco
 

WASHINGTON - June 23 - In response to Congress’ proposal to give Big Tobacco a “Sweetheart Deal” in an amendment to the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) bill, Tobacco-Free Kids has launched www.StopBigTobacco.org, a nationwide campaign to call on the U.S. Senate to insist that the amendment be excluded from the final bill.

The $10 billion, taxpayer-funded House buyout plan is a great deal for tobacco companies and a raw deal for everyone else. It does nothing to protect public health and reduce tobacco’s tremendous toll in health, lives and money. The proposal makes taxpayers pay for the buyout instead of the tobacco companies. It adds to the federal budget deficit. And, it eliminates all price and production controls on tobacco, which would allow tobacco to be grown anywhere in the United States.

This House buyout shortchanges small family farmers and provides an unwarranted windfall to the tobacco companies. Tobacco companies benefit because they do not have to pay for the buyout and they end up with cheaper tobacco. The Congressional Research Service has estimated that tobacco companies will save between half a billion and two billion dollars a year under such a buyout proposal. In contrast, tobacco farmers are left with no economic safety net and at the mercy of tobacco companies

Visitors to www.StopBigTobacco.org can send a message to their Senators urging them to reject the House’s proposal. The campaign, which was made public last week, has already generated over 16,000 letters from www.StopBigTobacco.org to Congress from Americans that believe that Congress’ job is to protect the public health, not Big Tobacco’s bottom line.

Voters know that that House buyout plan is a bad deal for them. According to the results of a nationwide poll of voters, conducted June 11 through 13, 80 percent are opposed to the House tobacco buyout plan, including 67 percent who are strongly opposed. Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike are strongly opposed. In contrast, 69 percent of voters surveyed favor Congress passing a bill to give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. The message to Congress is clear: good public health policies on tobacco also happen to be good politics.

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