Regulation

Senate Dems to US Chamber: Stop lobbying against anti-smoking regs

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Senate Democrats want the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to stop lobbying against anti-smoking regulations.

In a letter to Chamber President Tom Donahue led by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), lawmakers said the Chamber’s actions to undermine public-health measures directed at reducing death and disease caused by tobacco products pose a serious threat to people around the world.

{mosads}The letter, signed by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), comes after The New York Times reported that the chamber is lobbying alongside foreign affiliates to fight antismoking laws and advance the interests of the tobacco industry.

The news of the chamber’s campaign against antismoking laws has reportedly pushed the CVS Health Corporations to resign from the chamber, according to the Times.

“For the Chamber to use its international clout to fight so ardently against regulations of dangerous tobacco products is contrary to United States foreign policy and global health goals,” the Senators’ letter said. “As CVS Health has shown, protecting public health is good business, and the Chamber’s actions are antithetical to good corporate citizenship.”

In a brief statement to the Times, the Chamber said it regularly reaches out to governments around the world to urge them to avoid measures that discriminate against particular companies or industries, undermine their trademarks or brands or destroy their intellectual property.

The Chamber did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the letter it received from Senate Democrats on Wednesday.

In response to earlier reports that the Chamber is lobbying for big tobacco, the group denied working to promote tobacco use.

“Let’s be very clear: This organization is not in the business of promoting cigarette smoking at home or abroad, period,” a Chamber representative said.

Tags Al Franken Dick Durbin Elizabeth Warren Jack Reed Jeff Merkley Jeff Merkley Lobbying Politics Richard Blumenthal Richard Blumenthal Sheldon Whitehouse Sherrod Brown Tobacco industry United States Chamber of Commerce United States Senate
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