8/10/95 Tobacco News


TOBACCO NEWS, August 10, 1995



HEALTH

  • Smoking & Fertility
  • Maternal Smoking & Children's Ear infections

  • Parental Smoking and Respiratory Infections

  • Smoking & Sunburn

  • Bristol-Myers Refuses Quit-Smoking Aid


  • FEDERAL

  • Aug. 10, 1995: Clinton to Give Tobacco to FDA

  • GOV'T FORCES WAGE WAR OVER TOBACCO REGULATION
  • Republican Doctors to Gingrich: Shun Tobacco Industry

  • WORLDWIDE

  • AUSTRALIA: Price War Explodes

  • Smoking & Fertility

    Berkeley, CA. July 24, 1995. Smoking could reduce the odds of conception by as much as 50%, according to a study of 1300 women under 35 at the University of California at Berkeley.

    The study was the first to separate the effects on fertility of smoking and coffee drinking. Coffee was not found to have an effect on fertility.

    The study was published in Epidemiology.

    Maternal Smoking & Children's Ear infections

    July 1, 1995. Tucson, AZ. Mothers who smoke greatly increase their children's chances of middle ear infections (otitis media), according to a University of Arizona School of Medicine study by Dr. John Ey.

    The 15 year study of 1,000 children and infants found children of mothers who were heavy smokers suffered twice as many middle ear infections as those whose mothers smoked less than 20 cigarettes a day.

    The researchers theorized that smoking increases mucus secretions, which may collect in the middle ear, breeding infections.

    Ey said evidence shows breast feeding during the first 4 months reduces inner ear infections dramatically.

    The study was published in Pediatrics magazine.

    Source: Don Kirkman, Scripps Howard News Service

    Parental Smoking and Respiratory Infections

    August 5, 1995. Children whose parents smoke suffer significantly more respiratory and middle ear infections as other children, according to a Greek study published in The Lancet.

    The study of 501 children by Dr. Chryssa G. Bakoula measured cotinine--a nicotine by-product--levels, and confirmed smoking exposure with interviews of parents.

    Children with high levels of cotinine were found to suffer 3.5 times more respiratory infections such as tonsillitis, laryngitis and bronchitis.

    Smoking & Sunburn

    July 26, 1994. Boston, MA. Smoking increases the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a non-lethal form of skin cancer, by up to 50%, according to a study of the health records of 107,900 nurses.

    The study also found repeated sunburns doubled the risk of skin cancer. Risk associated with the combination of both factors was not studied.

    The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

    Bristol-Myers Refuses Quit-Smoking Aid

    July 14, 1995. Bristol-Myers Squibb has decided not to license Dyna-Gen's NicErase-SL, a non-nicotine-based stop-smoking drug whose testing the company had been financing.. At issue was B-M's apparent belief that Nic-Erase's active ingredient, lobeline, would start out as a prescription drug, and eventually become available over-the-counter.

    According to Bristol-Myers, NicErase "did not fit strategically with our mix and plans for over-the-counter medicines."

    DynaGen's shares plunged by almost 1/3, to 3 1/16 at the announcement.

    The NicErase-SL system consists of nine tablets placed under the tongue every day for six weeks. Lobeline is derived from a common blue garden flower, lobelia. Lobelia was used by the American Indians, and is sometimes referred to as Indian tobacco.

    Extensive testing of NicErase has found no major side-effects. DynaGen estimates another $12-$15 million will be needed for additional Phase III clinical trials. Now that the partnership with B-M is over, DynaGen says it will open negotiations with other companies.


    GOV'T FORCES MAY WAGE WAR OVER TOBACCO REGULATION

    Washington. July 31, 1995. President Clinton is reportedly weighing his options in regards to the Food and Drug Administration's proposal to declare tobacco a drug. Clinton's main focus will reflect the FDA's concerns about the skyrocketing rise in smoking rates among 13 year-olds. Clinton is "determined to do something," about it.

    A Clinton spokesperson has said the President's decision is a month or two away. Some reports have held Clinton is leaning toward an industry self-regulation proposal. But Newsweek says Clinton will declare tobacco a drug, and that the decision could come as early as this week. The Wall St. Journal also indicates Clinton is leaning toward declaring tobacco a drug. The Clinton team may feel they can take the high ground from the GOP by forcing a fight over the tobacco issue.

    Against a background of seemingly daily revelations of once-secret industry documents, here are some of the recent events that will affect Clinton's decision:

    FDA IN REGULATORY STRAIT-JACKET

    Tobacco industry lawyers claim that if the FDA assumes control of tobacco it will be forced into a legal strait-jacket that requires them to declare cigarettes as "safe and effective" when used as directed or ban them. Even if this either/or proposition could be bypassed, the lawyers feel the law would at least require cigarettes--as products which are "habit forming" and/or have a "potentiality for harmful effects"--to be sold as prescription items.

    FDA chief David Kessler seems to feel he can slip by these legal requirements, and the rules he has proposed only address youth access.

    COMMERCE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING FDA

    The Commerce Committee is investigating the FDA's regulation of medical drugs.

    Upon assuming the Committee chair last year, Bliley halted investigation of the tobacco industry, and has called the April, 1994 hearings at which tobacco executives were called to testify a "witch-hunt," and this week said the FDA "is an agency that believes it is a law unto itself." Bliley has received more in Political Action Committee contributions from the tobacco industry -- $111,476 since 1985 -- than any other congressmember, according to Common Cause.

    TOBACCO COMPROMISE PLAN PROPOSED

    A long-time tobacco control advocate in Congress has joined with a tobacco-state legislator to present a plan to avoid FDA regulation by enlisting the tobacco industry's help to prevent youth access to cigarettes.

    The proposal for a Clinton/tobacco industry "memorandum of understanding" was presented by Reps. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Charlie Rose (D-NC). In return for the FDA shelving its regulatory plans, US tobacco companies would provide an estimated $100 million to help states prevent youth access. On their part, the companies would agree to:

  • End youth-oriented advertising campaigns
  • End free sample distribution
  • End the mailing of tobacco products.
  • Penalize vendors who sell to kids.
  • Proponents say the plan would obviate years of lawsuits, and the inevitable all-out congressional war which would erupt should the FDA assume regulation. Such a full-scale war could delay implementation of any national anti-youth access program for years, and could cost Clinton--and many Democrats--key Southern states in the '96 elections.

    But "If we do it this way," claims Rose, "the Southern tobacco states will be grateful to the president."'

    Wyden said, `I don't want to lose another generation of children to tobacco while we have endless litigation and political infighting."

    Violation of the agreement by the tobacco companies would mean the FDA regulation goes back on the table, according to Wyden.

    However, such a plan would take months to put into effect, and determining violations could get tricky and contentious. By that time, Newt Gingrich or Bob Dole could be president, neither of whom would be likely to pursue the matter.

    The Tobacco Institute had no comment on the plan, but recent reports have held the industry is against it; health groups are reportedly furious at erstwhile ally Ron Wyden, and Stanton Glantz called his plan "a 100% cave-in to the tobacco interests."

    TWO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATIONS

    1. The Justice Department in Washington has widened an inquiry into a full-blown investigation of perjury charges against tobacco industry executives who testified to Congress about nicotine issues in April, 1994. A grand jury is being convened, and subpoenas are about to go out.

    The inquiry was reportedly started in response to a 111 page "prosecution memo" sent to Attorney General Janet Reno by Rep. Martin Meehan (D-MA) and 6 other members of Congress. Meehan wrote the memo after secret tobacco papers from Brown and Williamson were revealed which seemed to contradict important parts of the executives' testimony.

    In particular contention are statement like:

    James Johnston, chairman and chief executive of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.: "We do not do anything to hook smokers or keep them hooked. . . We no more manipulate nicotine in cigarettes than coffee makers manipulate caffeine."

    William Campbell, then president of Philip Morris: "The presence of nicotine does not make cigarettes a drug or smoking an addiction. . . Philip Morris' research does not establish that smoking is addictive."

    Meehan contrasted those statements and others with seemingly contradictory company documents and claimed the discrepancies could lead to charges of perjury, false advertising, mail fraud, deception of federal agencies, deception of Congress, deception of the public, conspiracy and racketeering.

    A grand jury will begin calling witnesses within a month.

    2. US Prosecutors in New York are investigating "securities violations" at Philip Morris. Executives have been issued subpoenas to testify and to produce documents about the company's nicotine research..

    The investigation seeks to determine if the company purposefully concealed information it had about nicotine which might have led to FDA regulation--and thus a stock devaluation. Under securities law, companies may not release incomplete or inaccurate information which would affect their stock prices.

    The Wall Street Journal cited an unnamed source who said the inquiry was "still in the very early stages," and that the securities violations was only one aspect being explored.

    AP's Gail Appleson reports that both investigations may actually stem from secret documents which were uncovered in an earlier lawsuit, some of which date to 1954,. Those documents concern the Council for Tobacco Research's "special projects" division, which had been created to investigate the relationship between smoking and health.

    The papers had been uncovered during the 1988 landmark Cipollone trial, and had later been requested by plaintiffs in the multi-million dollar, decade-long and still-pending Haines v. Liggett Group Inc. trial in Newark, NJ..

    Only 2 non-tobacco industry people were allowed to view the documents--a special court officer and U.S. District Court Judge H. Lee Sarokin. After viewing 1500 documents in camera, Sarokin ruled the plaintiff's lawyers could see the papers under crime-fraud exceptions to the lawyer-client confidentiality privilege. In his ruling, he said the Council for Tobacco Research in fact considered itself a "front" and a "shield" against lawsuits. He said that a jury would reasonably decide the CTR was "nothing but a public-relations ploy - a fraud -- to deflect the growing evidence against the industry, to encourage smokers to continue and nonsmokers to begin, and to reassure the public that adverse information would be disclosed."

    He branded the council a "hoax created for public relations purposes with no intention of seeking the truth or publishing it." In musing on other product-liability cases, he said, "one wonders when all industries will recognize their obligation to voluntarily disclose risks for the use of their products. Despite some rising pretenders, the tobacco industry may be the king of concealment and disinformation."

    It was this last statement that gave the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals grounds to honor the tobacco industry's request to remove Sarokin from the trial. The court overturned Sarokin's ruling, saying it may have been correct, but was based on evidence not presented to the court, and that the defendants should have been allowed to argue against disclosure. In removing Sarokin, the court ruled his "king of concealment and disinformation" words gave at least the appearance of bias against the tobacco companies. Sarokin, who had also presided over the Cipollone trial, admits today his language was intemperate, but stands by the ruling. He now sits on the very court which disqualified him.

    The case is still pending in part because Sarokin's replacement in 1993 refused to allow Haines' contingency-basis lawyer to remove himself from the case. In his ruling he quoted a statement by an R. J. Reynolds lawyer that indicated tobacco companies won cases by making them "extremely burdensome and expensive" for plaintiffs. "To paraphrase General Patton, the way we won these cases was not by spending [RJ Reynolds'] money, but by making that other son of a bitch spend all of his."

    However, word of the documents apparently sparked an investigation of the tobacco industry by the US Attorney's office in Brooklyn.

    WAXMAN REVEALS "SECRET" PAPERS ON HOUSE FLOOR

    On July 24, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) placed into the Congressional Record excerpts from over 2,000 pages of what he said were Philip Morris documents concerning the company's pharmacological studies of nicotine's effects.

    "Philip Morris conducted an extensive but secret research program into nicotine pharmacology for over a decade," said Waxman on the floor.

    A 1974-78 study focused on hyperactive 3rd graders as a subgroup who as teens might self-administer nicotine in the form of cigarettes. "It would be good to show that smoking is an advantage to at least one subgroup of the population," the document read. This study involved 60,000 children in a Virginia school district, and was abandoned when "privacy acts" made it too difficult to obtain school and medical records.

    A 1969-72 study used "painful" electric shocks on college students to examine smoking under stressful situations. The study was abandoned, said Waxman, when researchers found "fear of shock is scaring away some of our more valuable subjects."

    A 1969 company report said that smokers need tobacco's "pharmacological effect," and a statement by company scientists that craving for cigarettes "preempts food in times of scarcity on the smoker's priority list."

    Waxman is Constitutionally protected from legal proceedings for anything said on the floor of the House. He wouldn't discuss the matter once he left the floor. He said he didn't want the charges to get tied up in the courts. Last year Brown & Williamson tried to subpoena him to reveal how he had received their "stolen" secret papers.

    A week later, on July 31, still trying to exert pressure on President Clinton to allow the FDA to declare nicotine a drug by showing the industry is aware of nicotine's effects, and manipulates the drug's content in cigarettes, Waxman read more papers which he claimed "almost certainly" showed Philip Morris adjusted tar/nicotine ratios in two of its brands, adjusting nicotine levels in a way previously denied by the company.

    Tar masks the harsh taste of nicotine, so a balance is critical. The natural balance, according to Waxman, is 7 parts nicotine to 100 parts tar. Philip Morris scientists researched optimal ratios during the 1970s, Waxman said.

    Waxman said for 10 years--from 1968-19787, Philip Morris' Benson & Hedges brand had tar/nicotine rations of 7:100. In 1981, that ratio increased to 20 parts nicotine to 100 parts tar, then in 1983 dropped again to 11:100--"exactly the level recommended by the scientists" as optimal in the 1970s studies, according to Waxman.

    In 1985, the brand went back to the 7:100 ratio.

    Another brand, Merit Ultra Lite, was introduced in 1981, again with the 11:100 ration. The Wall St. Journal reports that in recent years the brand has maintained a 1:100 ration.

    "There appears to be only one conclusion that can be drawn from this evidence," Waxman said. "Philip Morris deliberately increased nicotine levels in commercially marketed cigarettes."

    Philip Morris said at first that "Philip Morris has always said that it studied why people smoke. That should surprise no one since manufacturers of consumer products want to and need to understand why consumers use their products. . . . Nicotine, which is an important component of the taste and flavor of cigarettes, is believed to be one of many reasons. . . We would be criticized as irresponsible if we had not conducted these studies."

    A more recent statement claims that the papers were not "secret," but "were produced to the plaintiffs in the 1988 Cipollone case -- a case Philip Morris won in court."

    PM charged Waxman had "eliminated critical passages . . . and seriously mischaracterized both the purposes and the results of Philip Morris' research activities."

    Many news accounts seem confused about the fact that none of the tobacco executives flatly declared that nicotine is not addictive. Each basically echoed William Campbell's statement, "I believe that nicotine is not addictive."

    In the B&H data, PM said Waxman was misleading the public by neglecting to point out that B&H had reduced both tar and nicotine by 90% in 1978. PM said that the ratio changes were due to heavy filters which naturally remove more tar than nicotine, along with natural variations "in the agricultural product."

    PARTISAN BATTLE LOOMS

    The tobacco industry and tobacco-state legislators--along with many Republicans who are seen as aligned with the industry--seem poised to attack regulatory efforts. The industry would probably meet the threat with a lawsuit against the FDA, while legislators would increase efforts in Congress to "starve" the FDA by depriving it of all funding--a tactic which has already been put up for vote once.

    Philip Morris said in a statement that the accusations are "wholly without merit," and that "It is clear from the recent news leaks and attacks against the company and industry that the FDA and many of its anti-smoking allies are engaged in a carefully orchestrated campaign to assert greater regulatory control over tobacco and to limit the rights of adults to make decisions for themselves."

    While Rep. Rose claims Gingrich and Dole "some Republicans . . . are licking their chops" at a fight over FDA regulation of tobacco, there are indications the Republicans may be more divided on this than on any other regulatory issue.

    Utah Republican James V. Hansen wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post "The administration may be poised to place its faith in the one industry in the United States that has proven its untrustworthiness, rather than take the necessary step of approving regulation of tobacco by the Food and Drug Administration. . . The desperate need to stop big tobacco from preying on America's kids must not be politicized." Hansen said

    "Every major tobacco prevention initiative offered in the past has been undermined and effective action short-circuited by tobacco industry promises and political compromises that fail to bring about real change," and called the voluntary compromise "fraudulent smoke screen designed to prevent meaningful action and real progress."

    "Republicans and Democrats alike support the FDA's recommendations to regulate tobacco as a drug. The president . . . has a historic opportunity to strike a blow for the health and lives of America's children."

    Even Conservative beacon William F. Buckley has urged FDA control of tobacco. In a March, 1995 syndicated column, he wrote, "The concept -- pediatric disease -- qualifies as an epiphany, given the acknowledged authority of society over a minor. He/she has to go to school, has to wait until a certain age before being allowed to drive, to vote, to drink beer. It yields no substantial libertarian ground to add to the list enforcement mechanisms designed to dissuade the 15-year-old from taking up aching experiences (those who give up smoking), and at the other end premature and painful death."

    Pointing up the political differences, Richard Cohen, writing in the Washington Post, said that while tobacco companies have marketed tobacco "in such a way that is tremendously appealing to kids," and that though kid smoking rates are skyrocketing, "when it comes to cigarettes, where are the country's leading shamemongers? Where's Newt, who would wag a finger at every pregnant single woman? . . . where is that lonely watchman of American morality, that man who cannot abide putting profits ahead of common decency, Bob Dole? This, of course, is the great partisan hypocrisy. Democrats love to tell businesses what to do, but are loath to say anything about individual behavior. Republicans take the opposite tack, which means they have nothing to say about cigarette companies. . . So far, though, it's those very same people who have remained silent, undoubtedly fearing the loss of political contributions and, here and there, some votes. What they have is gall. What they lack is guts."

    PUBLIC OPINION

    Public opinion seems to favor FDA regulation. A 1995 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation survey found:

  • 71% favor extending regulation of nicotine products (like gum and patches) to cigarettes.
  • Over 70% of respondents favored banning cigarette vending machines and halting promotional "gear" programs that appeal to kids.
  • 73% believed "tombstone" advertising--text-only ads--would decrease smoking's appeal for youth.
  • Clinton to Give Tobacco to FDA

    Washinton, DC. August 10, 1995. Reports from AP and the Washington Post claim President Clinton will allow the FDA to regulate tobacco as a drug, but only in matters pertaining to youth access.

    According to these reports, which admittedly are only from a draft, the proposed regulations include the following restrictions.

    SALES RESTRICTIONS

    Banned:

  • --Vending machine sales
  • --Direct mail sales
  • --Sales of "kiddie packs" (under 20 cigarettes) or "loosies."
  • --Free samples
  • --Mailing of coupons
  • ADVERTISING RESTRICTIONS

    Banned:

  • --Advertising at all sporting events.
  • --Advertising within 1,000 feet of schools.
  • --The use of existing brand names such as "Harley Davidson" or "Cartier."
  • --Pictures in ads, for the most part. "Tombstone" advertising, i.e., black and white text only, would be the norm. Pictures could be used only in publications where youth readership is less than 2 million, or is less than 15% of total readership, whichever is smaller.
  • In addition, the proposal would force the tobacco industry to fund a $100-150 million campaign to discourage youth smoking--much like the effective "equal time" TV ad campaigns of 1967-1971.

    FDA regulation would change "the nature of tobacco in this society forever," according to Cliff Douglas of the Advocacy Institute. The resulting war now could also change the nature of government in this society forever.

    But in the interest of avoiding the inevitable delays on the youth-smoking front from such a battle--including a "likely" lawsuit from the tobacco industry--Clinton will apparently leave the door open for Congress to enact the rules, in which case the President will shelve the idea of giving authority to the FDA.

    EDITORIAL WATCH

  • THE (RALEIGH, NC) NEWS & OBSERVER, August 11, 1995: To see President Clinton's attempts to limit teenage smoking as an inevitable step toward prohibition is unreasonable, and hinders the discussion of good, sane regulations. . . The The best way for North Carolina's elected officials, and those from other tobacco states, to respond to these directives is not with damaging -- and futile -- rhetoric, but with reasoned acceptance. That might get them a place at the table as the discussion of regulation continues among Clinton administration officials and in Congress. The best approach now is to try to hold down the economic casualties -- because the war is plainly lost.
  • NEW YORK TIMES, August 11, 1995: "If Republicans or tobacco-state senators in Congress do not like the notion of regulatory intervention . . . they have only their own failure to confront this urgent public health issue to blame.
  • ". . . the Administration may be on reasonable ground in seeking to ban outdoor advertising near schools and playgrounds. But it is probably stretching too far to insist that all other outdoor advertising contain only black-and-white text, with no pictures or color allowed, for those ads are aimed at adults as well. . . .
  • "But whatever the legal merits may be, there is no question that President Clinton is on the right track in calling for the strongest Federal effort yet to curb teen- age smoking. Congress should join him in trying to end anepidemic of smoking among youngsters that even the tobacco industry says it opposes.
  • USA TODAY, August 10, 1995: . . . history says tobacco companies can't -- or won't -- keep their unhealthy products away from kids. They can't be trusted to do what's right. . . they've used their money and clout in state legislatures to snuff out aggressive local anti-smoking programs in 17 states, replacing them with weaker state enforcement. . . "Parents, though, won't be fooled. You know smoking can kill your kids. And Clinton is right to protect them."

  • BARRY GOLDWATER, WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 8, 1995: "I have devoted my life to fighting for limited government, and I do not endorse new government programs lightly. But there is a special role for government in protecting children from the greatest dangers in our society. One of those dangers is tobacco. . . .

    "The responsibility of government to act is even stronger when the danger comes in the form of a product specifically marketed to young people. . . .

    "It's hard to imagine a more compelling case for government action. I've watched the tobacco industry make promise after promise over the past 40 years. With every promise, they give an inch, grudgingly, and buy enough time to hook another generation. . . .

    "It's time to stop kidding ourselves. Back room deals and gentlemen's agreements never have worked with this industry and never will. This is not a partisan issue; this is about the health of our children. Instead of dealing with this problem squarely, both political parties have sold our children short in the past. . .

    "The tobacco industry continues to insist that smoking is a simple matter of individual rights and adult choice. If that were true, I would be on their side. But we're not talking about adults. Neither the FDA nor anyone else is talking about prohibiting adults from smoking. . . . The time has come to rise above partisan politics on this issue. We owe it to our children."

  • QUEENS (NEW YORK) NEWSDAY, August 8, 1995: "Clinton is correct in seeking to elevate public consciousness about a serious health threat that demands greater public activism to eradicate . . . the administration shouldn't ignore efforts by some members of Congress to get tobacco companies into a binding agreement . .

    "The industry can no longer plausibly claim its product isn't addictive or doesn't have dire health consequences. There's evidence that the industry has targeted advertising on youth . . . The nation can't ignore this threat to its young."

  • WILLIAM MURCHISON,WASHINGTON TIMES, August 8, 1995: " . . . tobacco regulation comes about 400 years too late. If society was going to stamp out tobacco it should have done so before the habit permeated all levels of society. . . President Clinton is generally supportive of the FDA's attempt to gain authority over tobacco. . . . Likewise, Mr. Clinton and his senatorial allies stubbed out the Republican deregulatory bill. The battle lines for the '96 elections look clearer all the time."
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 7, 1995: The President is undoubtedly worried about the economies of tobacco states like North Carolina and Virginia, and thus the potential political impact of any decision on his reelection chances. We remind him, though, that it is unlikely he can win reelection next year without California's 54 electoral votes. California voters have repeatedly spoken on this issue, voting to devote millions in cigarette taxes to anti-smoking education and to rebuff industry efforts to repeal the state's strong rules against smoking in restaurants and other public places.

    Perhaps Clinton's choice is not so hard after all. He can both stand up for public health and boost his chances for reelection.

  • WASHINGTON POST, August 4, 1995: "Youths who smoke . . . overwhelmingly smoke the three most-advertised brands. . . Much of the current congressional enthusiasm to dismantle, defund or otherwise weaken the FDA stems from concern that that agency will eventually leapfrog all these half-measures and simply declare tobacco the addictive drug that it is. If the White House can't come up with something that's truly tough and effective, it should back up the agency in doing just that."
  • JIMMY CARTER, USA TODAY, August 3, 1995: "During my administration, the industry used its power and persuasion to argue, just as it is doing today, that it could be trusted not to market cigarettes to children. . .

    "We must not be tricked again. If history has taught us anything, it is that this industry must be judged by its 40-year record, not by its promises to protect the health of our children.

    "It is time we recognized the need for a comprehensive approach that includes eliminating advertising and marketing that appeal to children, reducing the ease with which children obtain tobacco, funding public education campaigns designed by health experts and not the tobacco industry, and overseeing tobacco manufacturing to ensure that nicotine and other ingredients are not manipulated to enhance addiction and that hundreds of additives in cigarettes do not contribute to the risks of smoking. Only a strong agency such as the FDA is capable of implementing such a program. . . .

    "Given all that we know, the scientific case for protecting children from tobacco is indisputable. The moral imperative to act is overwhelming. . . This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. It is a bipartisan, pro-child, pro-family, pro-health issue. Politicians of both parties understand that to oppose protection of children from tobacco is to be on the wrong side of history.

  • JOAN BECK, AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, August 1, 1995: "Never have so many powerful people tiptoed so timidly around such a deadly problem as the decision-makers in Washington. . . But tobacco companies give heavily to politicians. . . Congressional recipients of tobacco money include 83 percent of senators and 68 percent of representatives.

    "Last month -- three decades and millions of deaths late -- the Food and Drug Administration got around to declaring that the nicotine in tobacco is a drug. Instead of taking political risks by acting on its finding, the FDA merely bucked a few proposals to President Clinton.

    "All government can really do is educate, cajole, set examples, tax tobacco products as high as possible, enlarge smoke-free public areas and try to restrict access to those too young to make a decision for themselves."

  • ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, August 1, 1995: " . . . we don't need a deal that forbids future government action against an industry whose product kills 400,000 Americans each year. What we need is the courage to stand up and do the right thing. . . This plan simply looks like a way for companies to put up a modest sum and buy their way out of a reasonable regulation."

  • ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, July 31, 1995: The tobacco companies are crazy if they don't jump at a compromise measure that would keep the Food and Drug Administration off their necks in exchange for a massive attack on teen-age smoking. . . FDA regulation of nicotine as an addictive drug is probably inevitable someday. . . However, the legal and regulatory issues are in the future. The problem of teen-age smoking is right now."

  • DES MOINES REGISTER, July 28, 1995: ... many states already ban sales of tobacco to minors, yet they won't or can't enforce those laws. FDA regulation and federal laws might bolster state efforts. But an anti- regulatory Congress is not likely to impose more regulation. . . . the industry might see a need to polish its image by cooperating in an educational program, even though it must know that education is the best way to reduce the number of smokers. The overall decline in cigarette use -- to the point where many of the puffing minority feel like pariahs -- was not because of legislation or regulation but because of information."

  • (RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA) NEWS AND OBSERVER, July 28, 1995: "These are the same tobacco companies, after all, that refuse to acknowledge the link between smoking and disease and that are under investigation for alleged misrepresentations and lies to Congress. Before accepting a handshake from this industry, it's best to look for the buzzer in its palm."

  • WASHINGTON POST, July 27, 1995: "The issue these days isn't whether smoking is harmful. It's the narrower question of whether the cigarette companies knew they were working with a body-altering chemical substance, nicotine, and whether they designed their cigarettes purposely in such a way that the one-time casual user would get hooked. The answer is looking more and more like yes. This is an important advance, because if tobacco can be correctly described as a drug, the FDA has the legal right to regulate it."

  • WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, July 23, 1995: "The battle the FDA has picked to fight is a battle in which the individual's freedom to choose is on one side and government's authority to compel behavior is on the other side. "

  • DETROIT FREE PRESS, July 22, 1995: "Stating the plain truth that tobacco is an addictive drug is another logical step in the effort to make sure people understand what they're getting into when they start using it."

  • PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, July 20, 1995: "Bold National Strides Should Be Taken To Treat Tobacco As The Addictive Scourge It Is."

  • CAPE COD TIMES, July 16, 1995: "The FDA has every right to act in the interests of the kids. And Mr. Clinton could do battle with the pro-tobacco, get-government-off-our-back types in Congress with a joyous heart -- the majority of the voters do not smoke, and he'd be championing children."
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE, July 15, 1995: "If nicotine were a newly discovered drug and tobacco a previously unheard-of product, there is no question that the American people would want both strictly regulated." [I]t would be foolish to the point of madness for . . . the Food and Drug Administration to arrogate to itself the right to regulate tobacco. It would be no less foolish for the White House to do so. On an issue that touches so many popular concerns and habits, it is the people's branch, the Congress, that ought to take the initiative."

  • WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE, March 16, 1995: "Three cheers for Dr. David Kessler...

    " . . . We walk now into the shadowy world of influence. Many photographs and cartoons are designed to attract young people to smoke cigarettes. These would be forbidden under federal law. Now this is tough legislation, inviting a government official or two government officials to decide that that particular advertisement is aimed at young people. Okay, it is a difficult assignment, and a lot of quarrels would result. (Is that cowboy ad designed for kids?) But the philosophical position is surely sound: i.e., there are professionals who sit down at work and ask themselves: How can I design an ad that entices 15-year-olds to begin smoking?

    "It is a legitimate enterprise of an agency charged by the law to oversee the consumption of drugs to inquire into the merchandising of them.

    ..."The figures tell us that 75 percent of the young people who take up the habit will very soon regret having done so. So why not give them a helping hand -- while simultaneously giving dignified berth to those of adult age who are addicted?

    "...The concept -- pediatric disease -- qualifies as an epiphany, given the acknowledged authority of society over a minor. . . It yields no substantial libertarian ground to add to the list enforcement mechanisms designed to dissuade the 15-year-old from taking up a habit that brings on aching experiences (those who give up smoking), and at the other end premature and painful death."


    Republican Doctors to Gingrich: Shun Tobacco Industry

    New York, NY. July 22, 1995 A group of conservative Republican doctors have urged Newt Gingrich to "disassociate yourself from tobacco," according to Mike Fensilber of the AP.

    Citing Gingrich's teleconference with tobacco executives last year, and Gingrich spokesperson Tony Blankley's reference to tobacco control advocates as "health Nazis," the doctors said "we fear the Republican Party is increasingly viewed as a friend of the tobacco industry."

    The letter was written by Dr. Elizabeth Whelan of New York City-based American Council on Science and Health, and signed by 42 Republican doctors on the Council's board. Whelan urged Gingrich to "disassociate yourself, and encourage your fellow Republicans to disassociate themselves, from the tobacco industry. . . Do not represent yourself as an ally to the industry. Do not accept funding from the tobacco industry, as the funding would only be given in anticipation of favors."

    Whelan wrote that the close identification of Republican causes with the tobacco industry would leave the field to "safety alarmists."

    She urged repeal of health warning legislation, so the tobacco industry would become subject to "the same liability rules as other industries," and regulation of tobacco advertising targeted to children.

    The Tobacco Institute dismissed the letter as a "publicity stunt." Mr. Blankley professed ignorance of ACSH, and said Mr. Gingrich supported programs that teach children not to smoke, but opposed prohibitionist intrusions into people's private lives.

    ABOUT ELIZABETH WHELAN AND ACSH

    Whelan told AP she was a "lifelong Conservative Republican," and indeed she often has battled with "so-called public-health organizations," and has fought regulating activities by the EPA and other agencies.

    True to this conservatism, she has long sought repeal of the law that mandates cigarette warning labels. In a newspaper Op-Ed piece written in January 1994, Whelan said warning labels give the industry "a unique and privileged legal status."

    "Only an industry that perceives itself as immune from lawsuits would have the gall to offer 'free' designer clothing (Virginia Slims attire, fashions any young woman would just die for) in return for proof of purchase of 975 packs of cigarettes in a six-month period-a consumption rate in excess of five packs per day," she wrote.

    "If government had not meddled in the first place, cigarette companies would conduct business on the same legal turf as every other industry," she said. "They would have been sued by smokers made ill by their deadly products and by the loved ones of people who had died from their use. The industry would have paid, and paid big."

    "If free-market forces and an unfettered judicial system had prevailed," she concluded, "the cigarette might now be an anachronism, simply because it would be too expensive to buy and too unprofitable to produce."

    Last year Consumer Reports severely criticized ACSH for accepting donations from the food-processing, beverage, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.


    AUSTRALIA: Price War Explodes

    Australia. July 18, 1995. The vicious cigarette price war raging in Australia among the big three tobacco companies--Philip Morris, Rothmans and Wills--is making headlines across the country. Not only is it costing the industry millions of dollars a day, it has spurred health groups to issue new calls for tobacco regulation.

    Rothmans ratcheted the war up another notch today by slashing prices on its best-selling Winfield brand by 28%, taking the formerly discount, low-volume price war into the premium category. Rothmans apparently felt Winfield's share was being threatened by price cuts in its competitors' value lines.

    Meanwhile, Australian health officials have:

  • Accused the companies of using the war as a ploy to addict price-sensitive teens
  • Called for an increase in taxes
  • Echoed US health groups' call to regulate nicotine as a drug.
    • "It is an historical accident that smoking became established before the dangers of tobacco smoke and the addictiveness of nicotine were discovered," one official said.
    • Others point to the recent Philip Morris recall of 8 billion cigarettes as an example of why the industry needs regulation.
    • Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration would be the likely agency to assume regulatory duties.

    Under Rothmans' price cut, a packet of Winfield 25s went from AU$6.50 (US$4.75) to AU$4.50 (US$3.25). Rothmans chair John Utz told the Australian AP, "The cost of (the price drop) will cost Rothmans millions (of AU dollars) per day . . . We'll do anything to protect our market share."

    The companies and brands affected by the 2-month old price war:

  • Philip Morris' Peter Jackson 30s (value)
  • Rothmans' Winfield 25s (premium)
  • WD & HO WIlls' Horizon 30s and 50s, Stradbroke and Escort (value); Benson and Hedges (premium)
  • Analysts are unsure if Philip Morris and Wills will follow with their own premium brand price cuts.



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  • ©1996 Gene Borio, Tobacco BBS (212-982-4645). WebPage: http://www.tobacco.org).Original Tobacco BBS material may be reprinted in any non-commercial venue if accompanied by this credit

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