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Press Release

For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 31, 2008

Freedom going up in smoke

Regulations would endanger health of liberty in the United States

Tobacco regulations that just passed the House "should carry a warning label about their dangerous effects on liberty," says Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis.

The bill, sponsored by California Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman, would give new powers to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco ingredients and advertising, as well as the introduction of new products into the market.  The bill passed the House 326 to 102 after less than an hour of debate.

"Freedom is going up in smoke," says Davis. "The issue isn't about public health. It is about giving the FDA new powers to regulate a private industry when really we should be moving to privatize the FDA."

Davis says that giving the FDA authority to regulate cigarettes "undermines the notion of individual liberty" for citizens who make informed decisions to smoke. Davis also adds that this regulation will create an artificial monopoly in the tobacco industry by Philip Morris USA--the only major company in the tobacco industry that supports the bill.

Critics have said that only Philip Morris is able to easily adapt to the new regulations, giving it a distinct advantage in the cigarette market over its competitors in what Davis says is "government creating monopolies." 

However, "tobacco education is not a problem in the United States," says Davis. "Both private advocacy groups and cigarette manufacturers spend millions on educational programs.  We don't need the government obtaining new powers to regulate a personal choice by millions of Americans to light up a cigarette when the risk is clearly known.  Yes, smoking is dangerous, but government power is even more dangerous."

Davis says that individuals make a personal choice to smoke, and "government should have no role in helping to make that decision."
 
"It's a personal choice," says Davis, "and one that an individual should make for himself, as well as pay for the consequences himself."  
 
The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties.  You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.
 
For more information on this issue, or to arrange a media interview, please call Andrew Davis at (202) 731-0002.