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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 13, 2009 8:00am-8:30am EDT

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to do the tax and just raise them. guest: taxes are a big part of the whole process. you may have heard about the bill earlier paid for in part with a 62 cent increase in taxes on cigarettes. states can pad their budget was cigarette taxes. we'll see what shapes out in terms of will smokers stop buying more cigarettes or will they race taxes. with the house version of the bill, they did say there would be some significant impact on the budget. . .
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a lot of people have talked about with insurance, lower premiums for people who don't smoke or don't overeat, are not overweight, and higher premiums for people who are. so it's interesting what we will see. host: there's been questions in the past about the f.d.a.'s ability to upkeep what it's responsible for anyway. so is it fair to say that they can perform what the
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administration will ask of them? guest: i've been covering the f.d.a. for fife years and i've seen a number of big headline issues. we saw vioxx, tainted spinach, heprin recall that was made with a tainted ingreed yunt, a number of issues that have plagued them for years. yesterday congressman waxman said that was part of the bush administration. other people said they are chronically underfunded that they don't have enough staff and resources. but certainly we heard a caller saying we want the food safe, people want their drugs safe. yesterday, the new commissioner said they're ready, they're commite about doing this, they're going to meet the delines in the bill and get this new tobacco center going. >> did she talk about does that mean an increase in staff
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drug experts and so on. which makes sense there are experts in that center. but we don't know how that's going to be set up. caller: this is one issue that's got me ticked off and i'm disappointed the democrats have done this. i've been smoking for quite a why and it seems like ever since the late 1970's, they just keep putting on more and more taxes on to the cigarettes. and this last $6 or $8 tax they put on has really put the pinch on. i'm disabled. and without smoking i would be having to take more pain medications or tranchinge
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liesers or whatever. and they always say that these tax increases on cigarettes are going to help the cost of health care for smokers. i don't think i've ever been hospitalized because of smoking. now they're saying it's for the children's health care. i will be surprised if they see any of it because it's going to go to the general fund and it's going to be used up just like social security is used up. and i think it will. they keep raising these prices. it is going to cut down the amount of smokers, but then the states are not going to get the revenues that they've been getting from it. guest: that's a good point. some are saying they want the higher taxes because it will curb the number of smokers. but there are a number of
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programs funded by tobacco programs. so it's not clear how far ahead they've thought toobt the long-term consequences. a number of people have said reduced smoking will reduce health care costs. but the cbo has had a hard time putting in the savings. it's hard to know how much money they'll save. so you're right that it does shake up the balance of money in this whole situation. guest: host: how do republicans come on this issue? guest: a lot of them voted against this bill but a number of them passed it. it passed with wide margins. host: we talked about the specific tobacco cops but what about lobbyists? or seeing what the final will
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turn out as? guest: a lot of people said this is phil lip morris' bill. whether that's true or not i don't know. they're the largest tobacco cop. and one p person i talked to said the company put out a press release saying we're going to follow the high standards of government in our products. and so there is some thought that this actually could look good for the tobacco industry if they're following the letter of the law. one person i talked to said it might make people think cigarettes are f.d.a. approved. host: as far as what's been laid out, are there folks or interest groups that said potential loopholes as far as this legislation is concerned? guest: people have mentioned the loob holes. one person said law suits are inevitable. and i think we will see that. host: the next caller. chuck, go ahead.
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caller: good morning. listen, i'm a registered libertarian. i'm calling on the independent line. and i'm hoping that you are the or the reporter aren't going to misthe forest for the trees here. the supreme court has clearly established that we have a constitutional right to the privacy of our bodies. what we do with our bodies is our business. and that's been established with row versus wade. now, what could be more devastating than the death of a child in the womb? but you cannot make a law against it. so i don't know how the government can continue to keep things ill leel or to try to circumvent the constitution somehow through legislation in order to deny us our right to do what we please to do and not attack us for it. and i was wondering if you look
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into whether or not this is actually a constitutional law? row versus wade says we have an absolute right to the privacy of our bodies. could you comment on that? guest: well, you're right. the supreme court has been involved in this before in the early clinton administration the f.d.a. tried to put in some more curbs on smoking and cigarette products. the supreme court said congress would have to give them that authority. which now appears to be happening. but we have to be clear about what the bill does do and doesn't do. and what this bill doesn't do is ban cigarettes or tobacco products or these new smokeless products. it is giving the f.d.a. new regulatory authority over these products in order to be able to inspect manufacturing facilities, over the warning on the package. and there will be warnings on the front and back. it gives them power over marketing claims. but this does not ban cigarettes or any other tobacco
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product. people can still buy them. host: the "new york times" says that tobacco will be -- mentsdzle will be studied. guest: mentsdzle is a really controversial issue. it bans a lot of other flavoring in tobacco products, but it did not outright ban men thol. it did give the f.d.a. that power to look and they're going to have a new advisory committee meeting. it's an issue because a lot of experts say a lot of younger people, a lot of minorities also prefer men thol cigarettes. and so there's a lot of debate about this issue. on one hand, if congress were to ban men thol, the people who prefer those cigarettes would no longer be able to get them and only the other cigarettes they don't prefer would be avenl. on the ortse hand there are a lot of african american health
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groups who said you're putting people at harm and that should have been on the list that were banned. the f.d.a. could take it up later. caller: good morning. what i'm more interested in is the way they put in arsenic, they put in amoania, and these heavy amounts of nicotine that they also use. that's what i'm more interested in. and it goes back to additives and gas that they use just to make the gas burn faster. you know, all these adtives. that's what i'm more interested in. so why would they allow them to use arsenic in cigarettes? guest: well, what advocates of this bill are saying is that the reason you need this bill is to make sure that there is some control over what exactly is put into cigarette and other tobacco products. it would give the f.d.a. power over adtist and nicotine
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lelves. so what they want to see is more consistent and product as possible. host: wilson, wyoming. go ahead. caller: good morning. i've been smoking for almost 50 years. and i was diagnosed allergic to tobacco when i was 12 years old. i remember watching tv and seeing doctors get on the air telling us how healthy cigarettes were for us. and then we had the c.e.o.s at tobacco companies go in front of congress raise their hands and lie and say that cigarettes did not cause cancer. ten years later, or so, they admitted that they spiked the cigarettes with addictive products. so the companies got fined. the money was supposed to go to the states. do you think the c.e.o.s went to jail for lying in front of congress?
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no. the smokers got the tobacco companies increased the prices of cigarettes so that the smokers they addicted pay for their fines. we are the most discriminated people in america today. i've got to stand 20 feet from a doorway in the rain if i want to smoke. it's the most ridiculous thing i've ever seen. i'm paying $50 a carten when i used to pay 10 cents a pack of cigarettes. and we're paying for children's health care and yet we're so discriminated against. something has got to be done. now taxes are going sky high now. guest: he raises an interesting point that this comes at a time when more states are putting in these smoke free areas to different degrees in different states. we even saw north carolina putting in some smoke-free regulations.
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so it's certainly a time when a lot of people are focusing on smoking. he's right though. a lot of places you go to you can't smoke inside and there's a greater consciousness. host: is this the there any indication that this is as far as the administration is going to go? guest: i can tell you that health care is the next big issue on the horizon. so whether or not congress is going to devote more time to this is unclear. a lot of sites are focused on health care reform. and some other cost savings to bring down the costs of health care. host: texas, anjellca on our independence line. go ahead. you're on with our reporter who is covering tobacco, the recent bill on tobacco. caller: yes. i have a problem that you keep attacking people who are not breaking the law, who are you're attacking their civil rights.
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and you put as much energy into honest people who go to work every day pay their taxes who choose to smoke but yet if you put this much energy into illegal drugs and the stuff that's coming over the border that does kill people, that is breaking the law, that are criminals, that they have a war down here on the southern border, that it absolutely amazes me how the government keeps trying to take our personal choice and our constitutional right to choose to do something that isn't against the law. and that doesn't kill somebody immediately and that you can you grow and you can chew to quit if you choose to. but the government seems to think they have the right to do that. but when people are actually breaking the laws that are hurting our children, that are
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tearing our country apart by the seams, they hardly lift a finger to do. thank you. guest: well, a lot of republicans during debate on this bill did bring this issue up, why was congress spending so much time on a legal product that can be sold in stores and not spending time on illegal drugs as you mentioned. there was an alternative proposal to have a different kind of oversight over tobacco. it didn't pass. and so what we're going to see now is not a ban of cigarettes or other products, but just greater regulation from the f.d.a. but people will still be able to go out and buy cigarettes as long as they're 18 or older. it doesn't prevent that choice in any way. host: when is the president expected to sign this? guest: we don't know yet, but it could be any time. host:, florida, are you there?
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caller: hi. i have a son that -- yes, i'm here. host: go ahead. caller: i have a son that smokes. ok. i have a son that smokes and my one concern are the chemicals that are in the cigarettes. there is the amoania that gets the nicotine to the brain quicker. there is a lot of cars jens in these cigarettes i think need to be taken out. that's the problem. i don't think so much the nicotine which is addictive, but it is the carson jens that are in it. there are like 200 in these cigarettes. another thing. as far as the tax money goes, i think a very good idea would be to put that tax money to free smoking sensation claffs. -- cessation classes. you want to educate people. you want them to quit smoking.
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classes are important. people need support groups that are free. if you really want people to stop smoking, this is the way to do it. and take out all those chemicals. guest: she raises some interesting points that we've talked about a little bit already in terms of the adtives and other things that are in products. we'll see what the f.d.a. does in terms of what they'll let be in the products and what they decide have to come out ft and we'll see that over the next few weeks or months. host: an e-mail says it directly and indirectly causes health problems. what will regulation do other than minimize that risk at perhaps greater expense? guest: that was the whole debate in the first place, is the f.d.a. approved products, drugs that potentially have some benefit to you if you have high cholesterol and you take a staten that there's potential benefit. with tobacco, it's a product that is known if you smoke it can be harmful to your health. so there's a lot of debate
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whether f.d.a. should even get involved in such a product. and what congress decided was that was a worthy goal for agency. host: cincinnati, ohio. caller: good morning. i'm calling to ask a question but first i want to make a comment about an article that i came across in the readers digest. it's the april 2008 issue. i don't know if our guest is familiar with this article, but it's about the f.d.a. and how they're doing and what they control. and how they're doing. this gives you one side of the story. the other side of the story is that when people go into these issues, they always look at it through such a narrow window that it comes down to only affecting them or themselves. the moment you step out of your door, you start to affect
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everyone around you. now, before they explode about controlling smoking, making it under f.d.a., the other article that i came across just last night was derma on antipersprants. my question is, does the guest know that they are controlled by the f.d.a. and are considered the ingredients are considered over the counter drugs? i had a tonsillectomy about five years ago. during my recovery i quit smoking and i haven't smoked in five years. guest: what i think a lot of people don't realize is that the f.d.a. regulates almost a quarter of our economy, everything from band aids, to over-the-counter products, to the highest tech devices that are used by neuro surgeons. so they have a lot on their plate. and that was again part of this whole issue about whether tobacco should be a part of that oversight from the agency.
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host: clark on our independent line. go ahead. caller: this is interesting, this discussion. i want to suggest to anyone who is interested in this subject to google the cato institute and click on the policy analysis of multi-state tobacco settlement. this will show you that the contingency lawyers, the tobacco industry, and these people who are in clusion to create a monopoly and fix the prices of tobacco products across the states. there also was a few court case that showed that second-hand smoke posed no risk.
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these are in all the major newspapers across the country in 1998. i don't know how the exact newspaper date or article but i'm sure you could find these. the amount of information that's going around about smoking is not quite acroot. it's the epitome of junk science. i'm not saying that cigarette smoking does not pose a risk but what i'm saying is it's very much exaggerated. guest: well, part of this whole debate has been this big battle has been going on for years and years over people's choice to be able to smoke and the health of other people or perhaps the health of children who aren't of age. so that's really the tension that we've seen over the number of years. you mentioned the late 1990's
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when we saw the state settlement and that dizz have provisions for the industry to change some practices. some people said that hasn't worked out that this bill was needed to put in specifics following that. we even saw last month in may that there was a court case from the appeals court that showed agreement from the lower ruling that tobacco companies had knowingly lied about the nature of cigarettes and the harms of smoking. so this has been a very litigious issue for decades. this is another piece of it. it's not going to end when obama signs the bill. and you're right, it's the battle between whether people can smoke and the other people wo don't want to be affected by that. host: is there a sense of how other countries deal with this issue, as far as regulating tobacco is concerned? guest: not as far as i'm aware of this level of detail. smoking is going around the world. some critics in congress yesterday were saying that the tobacco companies are going to
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other countries to push their products to larger markets, india, china. host: is there ress regulation in other countries? guest: the f.d.a. is known as the gold standard. so having this part of the f.d.a. will allow obviously some formal regulations that are not seen in that extent to some markets. but in some countries that may not be the case. host: go ahead, please. caller: another caller mentioned the issue of drugs. and i wanted to bring up the fact that we're told we have 12 million people here illegally. yet, $26 billion are sent in remittenses to mexico alone. how do these 12 million low wage workers send $26 million back to mexico?
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host: one more question. as far as philip morris is krneds you said they supported this bill. e how did they react to it? were they as supportive? guest: what i can tell you it's been hard to get this bill through congress over the years. the house may have passed bit but not the senate. so what we've seen with fill lip morris' support behind this bill was a push to get it through congress. and it was able to get through both houses with wide margins. obama is going to sign it. part of it may have been their support, part of it may be the time now with the number of states reducing smoking in places, and other issues overall. host: thanks for your time. guest: thank you. host: coming up we're going to look at mats and science in the united states. our guest released a new study
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on that issue this week. we'll be right back.
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>> telephone conversations from the final months of lyndon johnson's presidency, on vietnam, u.n. appointees, and trubblets for his pick for supreme court chief justice. host: michelle, how would you
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rate the success of mats and science education in the united states? guest: math and science is excellent for some students but far too few and we are falling behind other countries and we are doing a disservice to the large majority of american students by not strengthening mats and science education and expanding the amount and the quality of education. host: when the topic comes up, a large comparison goes to other countries. guest: the world is changing with the economy and the u.s. used to be first in the world in terms of higher education degrees among the population. and if you take the younger population of the united states, those who are age 25 to 34, we are now, tenth in the
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world. and if -- tied for tenth. canada for example is first. the interesting point is we haven't slipped in the proportion of our population getting college degrees. what's happened is the rest of the world is going forward with much more urgency. we also have more difficult problems, very complex problems to solve and we know young people want to contribute to that, climate change, energy, health problems as wufe been discussing. and they need more complex education for that. they need math and science education. >> you said it is good for some. who is that some? >> the students who are in schools, who, where they are finishing not only algebra, but they're taking four years of mathematics, they're able to go on to college, they're not requiring remediation at community college or four-year college. we have -- but in our urban centers, in our rural
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population, and even in many suburban schools, students aren't being challenged enough and the parents and stinalts don't know that math and science, what's also called stem education, is no longer, the skills of that are no longer only for people who want to be engineers. >> your organization put out a report. what was the goal and what did you find? >> the carnegie corporation, and the institute for advanced study put together a group of math and science experts, and what we found is that the quality of science education in particular in the u.s. has, is very limited. and not only in the amount of science students take, but it is too limited to


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