Tobacco rules issued

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The federal government has finally established standards for preventing minors from buying cigarettes. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Wednesday issued regulations requiring states to adopt and enforce laws banning sale of tobacco to those under 18. The length of time it took to issue the rules----more than two years after draft regulations were offered and more than four years since Congress required the rules--had drawn the anger of both tobacco companies and critics. Tobacco companies were angered that the Clinton administration proposed Food & Drug Administration restrictions on tobacco advertising to discourage underage smoking before the government enforced its own anti-underage smoking laws. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala today said the two sets of regulations would compliment each other, a position also taken by tobacco critics. Philip Morris, however, suggested the state enforcement action was the logical approach and the Clinton administration position an "end run around Congress and the states."

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