C-Store Execs Join to Fight Tobacco Regulation

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C-Store Execs Join to Fight Tobacco Regulation

DALLAS -- Chief executives from five convenience chains joined here recently to ask Republican Senator John Cornyn to reconsider the bill he proposed that would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco, Politico.com reported.

Cornyn is sponsoring a bill that would give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco, and the convenience executives are concerned the federal agency could have the ability to close their stores, the report stated.

During the meeting Cornyn said he would try to address store owner concerns, the report stated, citing 7-Eleven lobbyist Ronnie Volkening, who also attended the meeting.

Cornyn "was actively processing everything we were saying and sincerely looking ... to make it more fair," Volkening told the Web site. "That's all you can ask."

NACS is also working to ensure the FDA will not have regulatory authority over the nation's tobacco retailers, which are concerned that the FDA can order a store to stop selling tobacco -- the number one selling product inside convenience stores, according to Convenience Store News 2007 Industry Report.

"It's a death sentence, and that order should be reserved for retailers who are not training their employees and doing everything they can to comply with state tobacco laws," NACS lobbyist Lyle Beckwith told the Web site.

To strengthen regulations, lawmakers should leave enforcement to the states, Volkening told the site. In addition, store owners want tobacco sales over the Internet and on Native American reservations subject to the same regulations as in-store sales, he said.

NACS has nine lobbyists working the bill, and in the past six months, the team had 60 meetings with lawmakers, Beckwith said.