Jun. 20 1997
Washington, DC - The agreement with the tobacco industry announced by the state Attorneys General has the potential to save millions of lives, prevent children from starting to smoke, and help break the cycle of addiction for both children and adults. This agreement has the potential to achieve more than could be realistically gained by any other means. The agreement can be a historic turning point in the decades-old fight to protect children from tobacco addiction and bring about a fundamental change in the role of tobacco and the tobacco industry in our lives. The agreement goes well beyond the provisions of the FDA Rule in terms of reducing youth access to tobacco products and curbing tobacco marketing. It also provides for getting secondhand smoke out of the work place and other public places, improving health warnings on cigarette packs, funding a sustained public education and counter advertising campaign, funding state and local tobacco control activity, setting up programs to help the 50 million adult smokers to quit, and monitoring the tobacco industry’s corporate behavior. In addition, it also sets very specific performance standards for reducing youth smoking. Our partners in the public health community, and indeed the American public, will now begin their very important review. We will assist them in every way possible. This proposal will also be reviewed by members of the Advisory Committee on Tobacco Policy and Public Health chaired by Dr. C. Everett Koop and Dr. David Kessler, the Clinton administration, and the Congress. Ultimately, the American people will determine the final outcome of this agreement. This review process is critical to the nation’s future health. We encourage all who will judge this plan to consider it fairly and based on the number of lives it will save as well as its other elements. This is not the end of the tobacco wars. There are other elements of a comprehensive tobacco control plan, such as increased tobacco taxes and international tobacco issues, that need to be independently addressed. Much remains to be done to save lives in America and around the world. Therefore, we will not rest in the fight to protect kids from tobacco addiction, and we will always keep a sharp and critical eye on the practices of the tobacco industry.