NASDA recognizes the vital work performed by FDA in the areas of food and drug safety, especially in light of threats to the integrity of our food production, distribution, and preparation systems. NASDA believes expansion of the FDA’s duties and jurisdiction into the area of tobacco product regulations should be based on scientific data. . NASDA encourages the use of good agricultural practices (GAP) as adopted by growers and the buying industry for growing and curing raw tobacco at the farm level. Cornerstones of the Tobacco GAP program include agricultural practices which produce a quality crop while protecting, sustaining or enhancing the environment with regard to soil, water, air, animal and plant life as well as protecting and ensuring the rights of farm laborers. NASDA believes that any imported leaf and tobacco products should be held to the same standards as domestically grown leaf or manufactured tobacco products.
Regulation and Classification of Tobacco
Tobacco remains vital to the economy and social fabric of tobacco growing states by providing jobs and income for thousands of farm families in addition to generating billions of dollars annually in federal, state, and local tax revenues. Federal tax revenues go directly to the general fund of the United States. Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco products (chewing tobacco and snuff) and electronic cigarettes remain legal products. There is unanimous agreement that children should not use tobacco products, and every state in the Union has laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors.
NASDA requests that USDA, Risk Management Agency (RMA) treat all states equally in setting price elections for tobacco at levels which offer adequate risk protection and take into consideration the true cost of production for each type of tobacco. We encourage RMA to set appropriate levels of insurance coverage to reflect the true market price of each type of tobacco sold at market. We also request that RMA treat tobacco similarly to all other fully covered and insured crops. Furthermore, we support stricter enforcement of rules necessary to prevent fraud and abuse of the Federal Crop Insurance Program.
NASDA supports efforts of tobacco leaf dealers and manufacturers to continue offering full production multi-year contracts to tobacco producers that cover costs of production and adequately compensate tobacco producers with a fair profit. We recommend that no new laws or regulations be created that would hinder the current system of marketing leaf tobacco.
NASDA recognizes the significant positive economic impact that domestically produced leaf tobacco exports have on farm economies and related agribusiness. We request that U.S. government regulations do not hinder these efforts. We further request that USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, not discriminate against tobacco, but treat tobacco as any other crop that receives export assistance. Trade agreements should treat tobacco products and tobacco companies equal to other commodities.
Federal Excise Taxes
NASDA supports the intent of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, NASDA opposes the use of increased federal excise taxes on tobacco products to fund federal health insurance programs, and believes more equitable funding options should be used. Such taxes will likely not meet the revenue targets they were originally designed to supply and will certainly have a negative impact on employment, farm preservation and agribusiness development in states whose economies are supported by tobacco production and manufacturing.