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Strong Recommendations to Congress to Limit Tobacco Industry


September-October 1994

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, reported to Congress that dramatic steps must be taken to prevent children from becoming addicted to nicotine (John Schwartz, "Institute Seeks Strong Steps To Prevent Youth Smoking," Washington Post, Sept. 14, 1994, p. A3).

In its report, "Growing Up Tobacco Free," the IOM panel advocates allowing state and local governments to regulate tobacco products, levying a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes, prohibiting cigarette give-aways, requiring vendors to obtain a state license to sell cigarettes (with harsh penalties for selling to minors), and banning tobacco vending machines.

"Youth are not in a position to make sound decisions about tobacco use and are surrounded by inducements which compel them to start a lifelong pattern of smoking and other tobacco use, the consequences of which they do not fully understand -- and will not fully understand until it is too late," said Paul R. Torrens, chairman of the panel.

David A. Kessler, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, praised the focus of the report. "Nicotine addiction starts as a childhood disease," he said. The Tobacco Institute called the report "100 percent recycled rhetoric."

[To obtain a copy of this report, call the National Academy Press at 1-800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313. "Growing Up Tobacco Free" is $24.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.]