WASHINGTON--House Republican leaders delayed introducing the tobacco
legislation they promised after the Senate defeated a comprehensive
anti-smoking bill in June. This allowed House members the opportunity
during Congress August recess to hear what their constituents
thought about the issues of smoking, raising tobacco taxes, and
strengthening the federal governments role in regulating the
An aide to Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), leader of the task force
drafting the legislation, said the delay resulted, in part, from the
disruption of congressional activities following the slaying of two
police officers by a gunman who burst into the Capitol on July 24 and
from an apparent lack of enthusiasm for dealing with such a major
bill before Congress adjourns in October to campaign for the November elections.
"What the Congresswoman is hearing is that there is not a lot of
appetite in Congress right now to take up a big tobacco bill,"
the aide said. "The Congresswoman does feel this is important
legislation, and we should take it up this fall, but it will depend
on what members hear back home."
According to a brief outline of the bills goals, released by
the House leadership, it would produce an "unprecedented
legislative effort to reduce both teenage smoking and drug use;"
permit no special protection to the tobacco industry against
lawsuits; provide the FDA new authority to regulate tobacco products;
grant the Federal Trade Commission enhanced authority to police
tobacco advertising to teens; launch a national advertising campaign
to prevent teen smoking and drug use; create a model law that states
could enact to penalize those who sell tobacco to minors; and allow
states to keep all proceeds from lawsuits they win against the