According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, a coalition of religious leaders from many different faiths staged a media event this week designed to urge House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to support the proposed FDA tobacco legislation currently before Congress. The Texas Teen Ambassador for Tobacco Prevention spoke at the press conference.
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While the coalition organizing this event is certainly well-intentioned, I wonder whether the coalition is aware that what it is doing is actually helping Philip Morris to lobby for the piece of legislation that it would most like to have enacted this year in Congress. I wonder whether the coalition is aware that the bill contains several key provisions that Philip Morris desired in the legislation, and that the bill would likely protect the financial interests of the nation's largest cigarette company at the expense of FDA's ability to meaningfully regulate tobacco products (i.e., unfettered authority to regulate the product on scientific grounds only and without political interference). I also wonder whether the youth or youths involved in this press conference were made aware that Philip Morris is strongly on board with them, and that the bill they are jointly lobbying for is one of Philip Morris' legislative priorities for 2005.