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New Mississippi Poll: Voters Strongly Support FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products
Date:5/28/2009

WASHINGTON, May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new statewide poll of registered voters finds that 62 percent of voters support Congress passing a bill to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products. The U.S. Senate is expected to debate this issue next week, and Senators Cochran and Wicker will play a key role in determining whether Congress will finally pass this life-saving legislation.

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"Senators Cochran and Wicker have a critical role to play in ensuring that strong FDA tobacco regulation is enacted into law," said Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Both Senators Cochran and Wicker were cosponsors of this legislation last year and we urge them to vote for the bill when it's on the floor this year."

Support for FDA legislation crosses party lines, with strong majorities of Republicans (65 percent), Democrats (60 percent) and independents (58 percent) favoring FDA regulation of tobacco. In addition, support for FDA legislation is strong across virtually all demographic groups, with majorities of voters in every age bracket, education level, and income level supporting FDA regulation.

Support among the state's voters for FDA regulation of tobacco climbs even higher (80 percent) when voters hear specific provisions of the bill.

The poll shows:

  • 88 percent support restricting tobacco sales to children by requiring ID checks for younger buyers and fining retailers who sell tobacco to minors.
  • 88 percent support requiring the tobacco companies to inform the FDA any time they make changes to cigarettes and other tobacco products, including increasing the amount of nicotine.
  • 86 percent support requiring tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in tobacco products.
  • 85 percent support requiring tobacco companies to take measures, when scientifically possible, to make cigarettes less harmful.
  • 82 percent support preventing tobacco companies from making claims that some products are less harmful than others unless the FDA determines those claims are true.
  • 81 percent support restricting tobacco marketing aimed at children such as limiting advertising in magazines with a large percentage of readers under age 18.
  • 75 percent support requiring the reduction or removal of harmful ingredients, including nicotine, from tobacco products.

"There is broad, bipartisan support for FDA regulation of tobacco products," said Myers. "Mississippi voters agree that it's time for Congress to address the nation's number one preventable cause of death and end the deadly status quo that allows tobacco companies to target our children and mislead the public."

A report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that in order for the United States to dramatically reduce tobacco use as a significant public health problem, it is essential to provide FDA authority over tobacco products. As the IOM concluded, "The time has come for Congress to exercise its acknowledged authority to regulate the production, marketing and distribution of tobacco products."

In April, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation granting the FDA authority over tobacco products with a vote of 298-112. Similar legislation was approved 15-8 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on May 20th and sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Nationwide, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs more than $96 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 20 percent of high school students smoke and more than 1,000 kids become new regular smokers every day. In Mississippi, tobacco use kills 4,700 residents and costs the state $719 million in health care bills a year, and 19.2 percent of high school students smoke.

The survey of 500 likely voters in Mississippi was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies April 26-28, 2009 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points. Detailed poll results can be found at: http://tobaccofreekids.org/pressoffice/poll2009/mississippi


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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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