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Tobacco Farmers, Public Health Community Urge Protections For Tobacco Growers

New Ad Reinforces Core Principles of Comprehensive Legislation
May 21, 1998

Washington, DC - As the Senate debates tobacco control legislation, tobacco growers joined with the public health community in an advertising campaign to urge Congress to include protections for farmers and their families in a comprehensive tobacco control bill. The ads begin running today in the major papers of states with large tobacco growing communities. “We have always said that protections for the tobacco grower are a critical element of a comprehensive tobacco control bill,” said Bill Novelli, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of the organizations sponsoring the ads. “We must reduce youth tobacco use while also ensuring economic stability for our tobacco-producing communities.” In an historic agreement in March, the public health community and the tobacco community joined in signing a set of Core Principles. These have acted as a guide for both sides in working together. The ad opens, “An Open Letter to Tobacco State Members of Congress” and goes on to state “the future of tobacco producing communities is at stake. Tobacco producers and public health organizations have come together to find common ground. We recognize that we must reduce underage smoking and use of tobacco products. And we must also find ways to ensure economic stability in our tobacco producing communities.” Senator John McCain’s tobacco control legislation currently under consideration this week originally contained provisions of the LEAF Act, sponsored by Sens. Wendell Ford and Fritz Hollings. These provisions were replaced by Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott with provisions from Sen. Richard Lugar’s bill. “The Lugar bill is a killer amendment because it results in a huge drain on the funding needed for the public health programs during the critical first three years,” said Andrew Shepherd, vice president, Board of Directors of the Flue-Cured Tobacco Stabilization Corporation. “This measure will do great harm to farm families and their communities.” “Our core principles represent common ground in the effort to protect our communities and our nation’s children,” said Shepherd. “It is critical that these core principles are incorporated into comprehensive, effective legislation and that it is done quickly.”