The anti-tobacco group led by Iowa kids is calling on the state’s U.S. Senators to support legislation that would give the F-D-A the ability to regulate tobacco. Anthony Menendez is president of the group “Just Eliminate Lies” or “JEL.”He says the legislation would give the F-D-A the authority to regulate the manufacturing , marketing and sale of tobacco products. He says despite the “tremendous harm they cause” tobacco products are exempt from the regulations that cover other food and drugs. Menendez is a senior at Estherville High School and says the tobacco companies know that getting kids to smoke before they turn 18 gives means the kids will likely continue smoking. He say the tobacco companies claim they’ve changed, but he says they still see the tobacco ads in magazines and plastered all over convenience stores located near schools. He says tobacco companies still spend 11-point-five million dollars on advertising just in Iowa — with much of it aimed at youth. Menendez says tobacco companies are also trying new tactics to lure in youth smokers by offering flavored brands of cigarettes. He says the cigarettes have names like “Caribbean Chill” and “Mocha Taboo.” He says they sound more like fruit smoothies, or candy or gum. He says he doubts that it’s a coincidence the names sound like candy — which he points out candy is regulated by the F-D-A. Iowa Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley are on a conference committee that’ll negotiate a compromise version of the bill that contains the amendment on tobacco regulation. Menendez says it’s important that they see that bill through. He says it’s time to let the F-D-A regulate tobacco, and he says it would not only help youth, but help all Americans. JEL held news conferences across the state today to push for the measure, Menendez spoke at one in Des Moines.
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