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NEW YORK -- In a prepared statement, Philip Morris USA fully supported legislation introduced last week to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that would provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with authority to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products. The company feels it is a unique opportunity to establish standards for the manufacturing of cigarettes and other tobacco products because it addresses some of the toughest issues facing the tobacco industry, including:
* The lack of national standards for the manufacturing of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
* The unlevel playing field for retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers created by the sale of counterfeit and contraband cigarette products.
* The need for guidance regarding the evaluation of claims for products that may reduce smokers' exposure to harmful compounds or the risk of smoking-related diseases.
Philip Morris believes this bipartisan legislation helps define the national standards that will help guide legitimate retail, wholesale and cigarette manufacturing businesses to responsibly market its products for the long term. Some of the highlights of this legislation are as follows:
* All categories of retailers maintain their rights to sell cigarettes or any other tobacco products, and cannot be disadvantaged by advertising rules that favor adult-only
* The FDA will be permitted to reassess its previous rule against self-service displays to ensure that it applies equally to all retailers who sell cigarettes.
* The legislation is likely to create new national standards for preventing youth access to cigarettes and other tobacco products, which could simplify retailer compliance nationally. Moreover, the FDA may decide to address the issue of online sales to ensure that minors cannot purchase cigarettes on the Internet.
* The FDA cannot ban cigarettes or reduce their nicotine yields to zero in an effort to dramatically reduce consumption.