Convenience Stores Opposed to FDA Control of Tobacco

Discussion
Sep 20, 2002
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The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) has come out against a bill (S.2626) that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco manufacturing. The outcome of this bill could have a significant impact on tobacco retailing in the U.S.


In written testimony to Congress, NACS said, “Convenience stores sell more than half of the single packs of tobacco sold in the United States in more than 20 million transactions per day. Such sales, on average, constitute nearly 40 percent of the in-store sales at NACS members’ retail locations in 2001. While controversial, tobacco is a legal product and one that is important to the economic viability of the convenience store industry.”


According to NACS, a number of provisions of S.2626 would adversely affect tobacco retailers. New labeling requirements require nine warning messages on cigarette packs. Concerns have been raised over a provision that would mandate retailers to display all warning labels in equal number. NACS says that many convenience stores would have a difficult time in complying with this due to shelf space limitations.


NACS argues that regulation of tobacco sales is better left to the states than the federal government. “Through state initiatives and laws, and without additional Federal involvement, tobacco sales to minors have decreased significantly since 1992. Congress should not impose costly regulations that are not necessary and should allow the states to continue to have jurisdiction over the retailing of tobacco.”


Moderator’s Comment: Should retailers selling tobacco
support FDA control over its manufacturing and sale?


Both cigarette manufacturers and retailers are pretty
much universal in their opposition to this legislation.


The one notable exception is Philip Morris, which has
agreed that the bill would be acceptable with a few modifications. Critics of
the leading cigarette manufacturer say that the company is trying an end-around.
It is looking to amend the current legislation to take all the bite out of it
and in essence, neutralize the FDA in the process. [George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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