16 September 2005

Letter I received yesterday from Senator Rick Santorum





September 1, 2005

Dear Mrs. Count-Wayt:

Thank you for contacting me regarding regulation of tobacco by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I appreciate hearing from you and having the benefit of your views.

As your correspondence references, on March 17, 2005, Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio introduced S. 666, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This bill would provide for the regulation of tobacco products by the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the FDA, including through disclosure, annual registration, inspection, record keeping, and user fee requirements. This bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to giver prior approval of all label statements. This legislation would prohibit cigarettes from containing any artificial or natural flavor, including herbs and spices. Additionally, S. 666 would establish a Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. You may be interested to learn that identical legislation (H.R. 1376) was introduced by Representative Tom Davis of Virginia in the House of Representatives on March 17, 2005.

S. 666 has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, where it awaits further review. As I am not a member of this committee, I will not have the opportunity to vote on this bill in its current form. However, should either H.R. 1376 or S. 666 come before the full Senate for a vote, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

Please be assured that I am aware of the substantial evidence of the harmfulness of smoking. Each passing year seems to bring further research pointing to the dozens of carcinogenic chemicals contained in cigarette smoke and the range of diseases and medical conditions linked to tobacco use. I am a strong supporter of laws that prohibit teens from purchasing or using tobacco products, and I believe these laws should be more adequately enforced. I believe our government has a responsibility to continue efforts to further diminish the smoking rate among teenagers and the population at large, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find bipartisan solutions to achieve this goal.

Thank you again for contacting me. If I can be of further assistance with this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to call on me in the future.

Sincerely,

Rick Santorum
United States Senate

RJS:mac

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