Jan. 21 1998
Washington, DC - The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS’ President Bill Novelli today issued a call for members of Congress to refuse all tobacco-related political contributions as theyprepare to return to Washington and take up tobacco control legislation. In a briefing for reporters, Novelli and CAMPAIGN Vice-President Matthew Myers said that Congress should swear-off tobacco specialinterest money and move swiftly to enact a comprehensive tobacco control policy this year. The group also called on political parties to refuse soft money donations from tobacco companies. "There will be one clear winner if tobacco legislation is not passed in 1998 -- the tobacco industry," Novelli said. The CAMPAIGN’s Myers echoed Novelli’s remarks, adding, "For this reason, we are asking all members of Congress to disassociate themselves from the industry by refusing tobacco money. For the American people to have confidence that tobacco control legislation will serve the best interest of our children, and not the tobacco special interests, tainted tobacco money must be eliminated." Today the CAMPAIGN sent a letter to all members of Congress and the party leadership asking them to refuse political contributions from all tobacco-related special interests. A copy of the letter to members follows. In previous years, the CAMPAIGN has asked members to sign a pledge stating they will not take tobacco money, and has highlighted the contributions members accepted. According to the CAMPAIGN, recent polling in a number of states shows that voters are far more likely to support candidates who refuse tobacco money. The data also show that these voters are strongly inclined to vote for candidates who support a national tobacco control policy. A summary of state polling in Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Oklahoma was released at today’s briefing, and additional state-specific poll data will released this Friday at an event in Pierre, South Dakota. "Congress has the support of the American people, the ability and the unprecedented opportunity to pass comprehensive tobacco legislation now," Novelli concluded. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest initiative ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Its mandate is to focus the nation's attention and action on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children, and making tobacco less accessible to kids.