THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Wednesday, January 3, 1996 TAG: 9601030464 SECTION: LOCAL PAGE: B4 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS DATELINE: DANVILLE LENGTH: Short : 49 lines
Southside Virginia Rep. L.F. Payne and a North Carolina congressman led a drive to collect more than 120 names of legislators opposed to new federal regulation of cigarettes.
Their letter was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, the last day for public comment on proposed regulations on the sale of tobacco to minors.
At a news conference at Neal's Tobacco Warehouse in Danville with about 70 tobacco growers, Payne released the letter, topped with his signature and that of Rep. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina.
``While we all strongly believe that minors should not use or purchase tobacco products, we do not feel that the FDA should attempt to circumnavigate its authority with these proposed regulations,'' said Payne, D-5th.
``Under our system of government, it is the Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, who are supposed to make the laws.''
The FDA's proposals, issued last summer, declare that cigarettes are a drug-delivery device, and therefore subject to FDA jurisdiction.
The rules would require tobacco companies to fund a $150 million annual advertising campaign to warn children of the health dangers of smoking. It also would ban cigarette sales from vending machines and impose restrictions on advertising tobacco products in areas deemed accessible to minors.
The FDA now must study the comments and respond to the arguments before adopting any rules, a process that could take months.
Payne said he represents more than 5,000 tobacco farmers.
``I fear that if the FDA gets authority to regulate tobacco, it will attempt to issue restrictive regulations until use of tobacco products is banned completely,'' he said. ``This would not only be unfair to millions of adult Americans, but would also spell disaster for thousands of farm families in Southside Virginia.''
Payne has also introduced legislation to block the FDA's regulation of tobacco.
Last year, tobacco companies filed a lawsuit against the FDA in an effort to block the agency's plan to regulate cigarettes. by CNB