Faith leaders press DeLay on tobacco

Legislator opposes FDA oversight of cigarette sales
Republican congressman Tom DeLay of Texas, indicted by a grand jury in his home state and bounced from his leadership position in Congress, has another distraction: interfaith groups are pressuring him to drop his opposition to Food and Drug Administration oversight of cigarette sales, which health experts say could save thousands of American lives.

Religious leaders from the theological left and right say they have leaped into the smoking issue for moral reasons. It is wrong, they argue, for tobacco companies to market lethal and addictive products, particularly to youths.

“We’re really disturbed that Mr. DeLay and others have opposed FDA regulation,” said Cynthia Abrams, a minister and an addictions and health care specialist at a United Methodist Church agency in Washington. “There’s a lot of talk by politicians about family values. But when we’re talking about the health of families and children, that’s a family value.”


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