The proposed FDA legislation that the Campaign, along with Philip Morris of Big Tobacco, are currently supporting would provide the following special protections for Big Tobacco:
- ensure that any decision to eliminate the addictive chemical - nicotine - from cigarettes would be a political, rather than a scientific decision by putting it into the hands of Congress;
- ensure that any decision to require changes in the product substantial enough that the courts could interpret it as eliminating an entire class of cigarettes would be a political, rather than a scientific decision by putting it into the hands of Congress;
- prohibit the FDA from increasing the legal age of sale of cigarettes;
- prohibit the FDA from eliminating tobacco sales in pharmacies, as well as any other specific type of retail outlet;
- require the FDA to make cigarettes the only drug that it regulates for which it cannot require a doctor's prescription, thus ensuring widespread access to this deadly drug by kids;
- ensure that all decisions regarding the regulation of tobacco products, unlike those regarding any other consumer product regulated by FDA, would be political rather than scientific ones by specifically granting Congress the authority to overturn any major FDA tobacco regulation deemed necessary to protect the public's health
Now Ignite, a youth tobacco control advocacy group funded in part by Tobacco-Free Kids, also is promoting the Philip Morris-supported FDA legislation. And according to Ignite's web site, it also believes that special protections for the tobacco companies should be ended. Further, it appears to believe that public policy decisions should be based on the public's health, not on the basis of protecting Big Tobacco:
"The tobacco industry is just not accountable to the public. Citizens cannot force tobacco companies to change ... But our public officials do hold this power. They have the responsibility of protecting public health and regulating businesses, specifically, to ensure they do not harm consumers. ... Why does Big Tobacco get special treatment from our government? It shouldn't. ... It's time for members of Congress to stop giving tobacco companies special protection. We call on our public officials to step up to the plate."
OK - now let's see whether Ignite really believes what they are saying and is willing to step up to the plate. If they truly believe that Big Tobacco should not get "special treatment from our government," then they most certainly would agree that there is no reason why Big Tobacco should enjoy a huge number of special protections (listed above) that manufacturers of drugs currently regulated by FDA do not enjoy, including ensuring that politics, and not science and public health, is the ultimate arbiter of the regulation of this deadly product.
So here's the simple challenge to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Ignite: demand that the FDA legislation be amended to eliminate these truck-size loopholes. It's that simple. You demand an end to these special protections for Big Tobacco and you win the challenge. And more importantly, you regain some credibility in having people believe that you mean what you are stating and that you are not speaking out of both sides of your mouth.
Let's see who, if any, will be the first to win this challenge by demanding the removal of these truck-size loopholes in the FDA legislation that provide unprecedented and unconscionable special protections for an industry that "is responsible for more than 3,000 people dying every three days."
Every day the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and/or Ignite fail to act, "another 1,200 Americans die from tobacco use and another 2,000 kids become addicted."