Promoting Public Health and Safety

I have long been involved in the fight for expanding consumer protection and doing more to promote public health. The struggle to more closely regulate the use of tobacco and alcohol cuts to the heart of both of these issues.

The tobacco industry has often been less than honest with its customers, and must be monitored carefully. The FDA has done an admirable job in recent years of ensuring that consumers know exactly what risks they are taking by using tobacco products, and I support them in this vital task. I have always voted for limits on the ability of tobacco companies to market their products to children and for bans on smoking in restaurants and bars. I have always voted to enforce those laws against retail establishments who do sell these products to minors. I will continue to support those principles as a member of Congress.

I do feel that people should not be punished for their private choices, and I have supported legislation that prevents employees from being fired from their jobs or having their health care taken away for smoking at home. This is a privacy issue. Employers should not be able to monitor what you do at home.

There are plenty of reasonable methods for reducing the destructive influences that alcohol can have. Perhaps the most effective are those tailored at discouraging people from driving drunk and continued public education about the dangers of tobacco.