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Virginia Faith Leaders Call on Senators Webb & Warner to Cosponsor Legislation to Protect Kids from Tobacco
Date:10/9/2007

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A diverse coalition of clergy and lay members from throughout Virginia held a press conference today to urge U.S. Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Jim Webb (D-VA) and the entire Virginia Congressional Delegation to support legislation that gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco products. The legislation would protect kids from tobacco and save lives.

Despite all the death and disease they cause, tobacco products are virtually unregulated. This continuing lack of regulation allows the tobacco companies to market their deadly products to children, deceive consumers about the harm their products cause and resist even the most minimal steps to make their products less harmful.

"The religious community - from the left to the right of the political spectrum - agrees that tobacco must be regulated in the United States," said Reverend Marc Brown, Richmond District Superintendent, United Methodist Church. "For decades, women, men and children have been lured into tobacco addiction by an industry and product free from oversight. There is no reason that tobacco should not have to bear the same health scrutiny we require of nearly every other product that has an impact on human health and life."

The legislation pending in Congress would give FDA the authority to crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids, stop tobacco companies from misleading the public about the health risks of their products and allow changes in these products, such as the reduction or removal of harmful constituents. Unbelievably, despite being the most deadly product sold in America, tobacco products are exempt from basic health regulations that apply to other products we consume, such as food and drugs. The FDA regulates a box of macaroni and cheese and a tube of lipstick, but not a pack of cigarettes.

"Restricting retail marketing practices would significantly reduce youth smoking,"
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SOURCE Faith United Against Tobacco
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