Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Move on to Ban Tobacco Advertising/synar Chief Sponsor

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Move on to Ban Tobacco Advertising/synar Chief Sponsor

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Legislation to ban all advertising and promotion of tobacco products was introduced Wednesday by three congressmen who called it an essential step to protect public health.

Tobacco is "the only product that when used as intended and instructed is still harmful to your health," Rep. Mike Synar, D-Okla., chief sponsor of the measure, told a news conference packed with reporters, cameras and lobbyists.

"We have a great challenge ahead of us. The tobacco industry. . .will spare no expense to stop us," Synar said, but he contended that there is strong grassroots support for the move.

The congressional initiative is backed by a wide array of medical groups as well as Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.

Tobacco advertising already is banned on radio and television. Legislation to prohibit all advertising was first introduced last June and was the subject of two hearings before the Health and Commerce subcommittee on health. However, the panel never voted on the measure.

Among points made by speakers at the press conference were:

- 2 million teen-agers start smoking each year.

- 350,000 Americans die each year of smoking-related illnesses.

- That toll is higher than combined annual deaths from AIDS, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, fires, automobile accidents, homicides and suicides.

"It is ironic that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is by statute required to remove any food additive or product found to induce cancer in man or animal, but is powerless to regulate a product that causes over 100,000 lung cancer deaths each year," said Rep. Bob Whittaker, R-Kan.

Groups such as the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association spend most of their money on research and cannot come anywhere near the $2 billion the tobacco industry spends annually to promote its products, said Rep. …

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