Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Philip Morris Spent $3.9 Million to Lobby Congress in Support of FDA Tobacco Legislation

According to an Associated Press article on Forbes.com, Philip Morris spent $3.9 million -- in the 2nd quarter alone -- to lobby Congress in support of the recently enacted FDA tobacco legislation.

The Rest of the Story

This revelation is important because it underscores that the major anti-smoking groups deceived their constituents and the public about the nature of the federal tobacco legislation. These groups informed the public that the battle to enact the legislation was a fight against Big Tobacco. Instead, it now turns out that the lion's share of lobbying by the tobacco companies went to support the legislation. I doubt this is information that will be shared with their constituents by any of these national anti-smoking groups.

For example, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has for many months implied that Big Tobacco fought the FDA's efforts to regulate tobacco, even though the largest company of Big Tobacco actually pushed vigorously for such legislation. A special report, entitled "Tobacco vs. the FDA" was described as outlining "the Food and Drug Administration's tireless efforts to regulate tobacco as a drug and the industry's escalating legal challenges, which continue to block the federal government from protecting American children."

I think it was, and continues to be, misleading for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to state that the tobacco industry fought federal regulation of tobacco and that the passage of the legislation was a victory against Big Tobacco, since Philip Morris was pushing for the legislation. By calling its report "Tobacco vs. the FDA," I think the Campaign was implying to the public that Big Tobacco was against FDA regulation. And by claiming that the legislation represents a victory against Big Tobacco, the Campaign continues to imply that Big Tobacco was against FDA regulation, which is untrue.

The same is the case for the other major anti-smoking groups behind the legislation, including the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.

The rest of the story is that the FDA tobacco law is hardly a defeat of Big Tobacco. Instead, it is a huge victory for Philip Morris, which spent $3.9 million in the 2nd quarter alone to ensure that cigarettes continue to be sold - with nicotine in them to addict our nation's children - for years to come.

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