Mr. Speaker, the so-called Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act really doesn't help anyone. It's just feel-good legislation that makes Big Government bigger and costlier.
It certainly doesn't help stop smokers from smoking. Our own Congressional Budget Office estimates that smoking by adults would decline by only .2 percent a year, or by just 2 percent over the next 10 years.
This bill certainly won't help farmers, many thousands of whom will struggle to comply with the bill's regulations and who will be forced to entertain the Federal tobacco police coming on their properties to inspect their crops.
It certainly won't help anyone who eats, drinks, or uses medication. An already dysfunctional and overburdened FDA will become even more distracted by this new Big Government program.
And the bill certainly won't help Federal law enforcement officials. They should spend their resources policing real crime rather than arresting people for violating the tobacco laws. Regulations that drive up the cost of cigarettes and reduce their appeal will only benefit the smuggling industry.
One advocate of the Big Government approach in this bill told a Senate committee that, We want to create Marlboros so they are like lard, but we want to regulate the contents, we want to regulate the toxicity, we want to regulate everything so it sits on the shelf and no one uses it, even though it's legal. That, Mr. Speaker, is a prescription for more prohibition that will lead to smuggling, lost revenue, and lawlessness.
On top of everything else, H.R. 1256 places additional Federal restrictions on tobacco advertising. In other words, it's more speech control by the Feds. Some of the Federal regulations on advertising in H.R. 1256 include the following specifications for the size of warning labels on tobacco products, and let me quote.
"The text of such label statements shall be in a typeface pro rata to the following requirements:
45-point type for a whole-page broadsheet newspaper advertisement;
39-point type for a half-page broadsheet newspaper advertisement;
39-point type for a whole-page tabloid newspaper advertisement;
27-point type for a half-page tabloid newspaper advertisement;
31.5-point type for a double-page spread magazine or whole-page magazine advertisement;
22.5-point type for a 28 centimeter by 3 column advertisement; and
15-point type for a 20 centimeter by 2 column advertisement."
Doesn't the government have better things to do than regulate the type of font used in tobacco advertising? Mr. Speaker, we have gone a little too far.
The CBO estimates that the new fees on tobacco companies would be about $235 million in fiscal year 2009. The country's in a recession, people are out of jobs. Is this really the best time to tax companies for a program that really, on its face, will not work even though it sounds good?
This is not reform. It's mindless Big Government that will only create more problems than the one it claims to address. I urge my colleagues to vote against more government bureaucracy, vote against this bill that won't stop smoking, vote against the rule and final passage.
And that's just the way it is.
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