Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton to Ask FDA to Regulate Nicotine Rise in Teen Smoking Is `Recipe for Disaster'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton to Ask FDA to Regulate Nicotine Rise in Teen Smoking Is `Recipe for Disaster'

Article excerpt

In a move to curb teen-age tobacco use, President Bill Clinton will direct the Food and Drug Administration today to regulate nicotine as an addictive drug, sources said Wednesday.

Clinton will direct the FDA to adopt a series of rules aimed at sharply limiting access to tobacco products by minors, the sources said.

The rules will not target tobacco sales to adults, but they are expected to include:

Restricting cigarette ads and promotions that appeal to minors.

Requiring that vendors demand a young customer's proof of age.

Banning many, if not all, cigarette vending machines.

The order, which Clinton is scheduled to announce in an Oval Office meeting with a group of teen-agers, follows weeks of negotiations among White House officials, congressional leaders and governors of tobacco states - states that could be critical to the president's re-election.

On the eve of the announcement, Clinton appealed for support Wednesday in tobacco-rich North Carolina, where he praised "the wonderful people in this country who make a living as tobacco farmers" but decried the rise of teen-age smoking as "a recipe for disaster."

Speaking at the Progressive National Baptists Convention in Charlotte, Clinton received applause after saying "the cheapest, easiest, quickest" way to reduce health-care costs and help balance the federal budget would be to end teen-age smoking. 30 Percent Hike

"We cannot pretend that we're ignoring the evidence," he said, "that one of the greatest threats to the health of our children is teen-age smoking, and it's rising."

The president cited statistics that show a 30 percent increase since 1991 in the number of eighth-graders who say they smoke and a 22 percent increase in the number of 10th-grade smokers in the same period. "The number of teen-agers who believe smoking is dangerous is dropping dramatically," he said.

Tobacco companies strongly oppose additional regulation of the industry, particularly intervention by the FDA. Clinton indicated in an interview with National Public Radio on Monday that he was trying to craft a decision that would prevent "years and years and years of costly litigation. …

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