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AARC Joins Colleagues in Concern Over Rehberg Amendment

June 13, 2011

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The AARC has joined colleagues in the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to oppose an amendment written by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and approved by the House Appropriations Committee that would seriously erode the FDA’s authority over tobacco.

In a letter sent to Appropriations Committee Chair Harold Rodgers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Norman Dicks (D-WA), the AARC and its fellow organizations write, “After more than a decade of careful and thorough consideration, Congress in 2009 approved the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) with strong, bipartisan support to protect America’s children and the nation’s health by putting in place common sense standards to regulate the tobacco industry . . . we urge you to oppose any language that would impede the FDA’s ability to protect public health.”

While the amendment does not mention tobacco by name, it applies to all products regulated by the FDA and, according to the Campaign, would:

  • Curtail the FDA’s authority to regulate the contents of tobacco products.
  • Severely limit the kind of evidence the FDA could consider in regulating tobacco and other products.
  • Eliminate the FDA’s ability to stop tobacco companies from adding ingredients that make their products more attractive to children and minorities, or more addictive and more difficult to quit using.

Tobacco Free Kids notes that the 29 members who voted for the Rehberg amendment took a total of $289,927 in tobacco political action committee (PAC) contributions in the last three election cycles, compared to just $10,000 taken by the 20 members who voted against the amendment. Twenty of the 29 members voting for the amendment received tobacco PAC contributions in the last election cycle, compared to none of the members voting against the amendment.