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Sherrod B.
Democrat OH

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  • Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013—Motion to Proceed—Continued

    by Senator Sherrod Brown

    Posted on 2014-01-15

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    BROWN. I always appreciate the comments of Senator Murkowski, who is always thoughtful and works across the aisle. I appreciate the work she does.

    Mr. President, I rise briefly, joining with Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Merkley, who is now in the Presiding Officer's chair but who will be joining us, to mark the 50th anniversary of Surgeon General Dr. Terry's groundbreaking report on the dangers of smoking.

    The 387-page report released five decades ago concluded something that was almost revolutionary in its time, and was revolutionary in its impact, that said: ``Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action.'' We know how our views in this country have changed about smoking. But we also know that 400,000 people every year die from smoking-related illnesses. That says the tobacco companies have to find 400,000 new customers every year, and the people they have tried to seduce into smoking are not people my age. They are the pages' age or even younger. Those are the people they aim at to teach them to start smoking.

    It is not just young people that tobacco companies are trying to get addicted to smoking; it is also what they are doing in the developing world.

    I was in Poland in 1991 working for Ohio State University right after the Communist government in Poland fell. The first billboards all over Warsaw, Krakow, Lublin, and eastern Poland were tobacco--mostly American tobacco companies but also British tobacco companies. Those were the first billboards up.

    So as the tobacco companies try to seduce young people in our country to smoke, they have, in some sense, attacked the developing Third World to get people to smoke there. One of the ways they have done this is by using our trade agenda to weaken public health laws in other countries. Some poor, developing countries have enacted public health antismoking laws, and U.S. tobacco companies and tobacco companies from other countries have tried to weaken--sometimes successfully--those laws.

    It is important we close loopholes in our trade agenda which allow big tobacco corporations to undermine these global health standards. This administration's decision not to exclude any one product, including tobacco, from the TransPacific partnership--the proposed trade agreement among the United States and 11 other countries--is a disappointment: It opens years of anti-tobacco public health policies to attacks by Big Tobacco, because under the TPP's investor state provisions, tobacco companies can challenge public health laws in the United States and abroad, all under the guise of and in the name of free trade. A record number of investor state cases were filed last year, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development.

    So the public health campaign against tobacco continues in our country and Senator Blumenthal has been a leader in this for well over a decade. It extends to our international politics, our international trade regimen.

    We have a lot of work to do. That is why I am pleased to join Senator Blumenthal and Senator Merkley in their discussion today honoring the 50th anniversary of Dr. Terry's report.

    I yield to Senator Blumenthal.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.

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