Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton to Announce Curbs on Teens' Tobacco Use FDA Rules Would Regulate Nicotine as Addictive Drug

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton to Announce Curbs on Teens' Tobacco Use FDA Rules Would Regulate Nicotine as Addictive Drug

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton is expected to announce as early as Friday a series of restrictions to try to curb the growing use of tobacco by young people, White House officials said Wednesday.

The long-anticipated move would officially classify nicotine as an addictive drug, thus giving the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented power to regulate cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, aides said. The proposed restrictions would include a federal law banning sales of cigarettes to people younger than 18 - up to now, only loosely enforced local laws have banned such sales, they said.

Clinton proposed regulations a year ago that would curb tobacco ads, ban vending machine sales and require tobacco companies to pay $150 million a year into a fund for educating teen-agers to avoid their products.

The FDA finalized its rules and sent them last week to the White House's Office of Management and Budget - which was to review them before Clinton took action.

Mike McCurry, the White House press secretary, said the review was "progressing satisfactorily" and could be completed by Friday.

If the rules are not ready for Clinton's approval Friday, McCurry said, the president will endorse them after next week's Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Brennan Dawson, a spokeswoman for the Tobacco Institute, said the industry would support reasonable federal efforts to keep cigarettes away from minors. "But this is about an illegal power grab," she said. "We're opposed to the FDA jurisdiction as illegal."

Haley Barbour, the Republican Party chairman called Clinton's tobacco move "a transparent, cynical effort to change the subject away from his administration's abysmal record on drug enforcement. …

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