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April 9, 1998: Reducing Teen Smoking

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We will not abandon tobacco farmers. They haven't done anything wrong. They've been growing a legal crop. Farmers didn't create the problem of youth smoking... but farmers and their communities will be included in the solution.

- President Bill Clinton
April 9, 1998

Today, President Clinton travels to Kentucky to meet with tobacco farmers and address students at a local high school. The President's trip highlights his commitment to reducing youth smoking and protecting farmers -- two key elements of the bipartisan comprehensive tobacco legislation the President has called on Congress to pass this year.

In an effort that can save one million lives over the next five years, President Clinton is committed to passing comprehensive legislation to stop young Americans from smoking before they start.

A Strategic Plan For Reducing Youth Tobacco Use. President Clinton's plan for comprehensive tobacco legislation includes five key principles:

  • Tough penalties and price increases to reduce youth smoking, including price increases of up to $1.50 if necessary over the next ten years;
  • Full authority for the FDA to regulate tobacco products, including authority of the manufacture, sale, and advertising of tobacco products;
  • The tobacco industry must change the way it does business, including ending its marketing and promotion to kids;
  • Progress toward other public health goals, including biomedical and cancer research, a reduction of second hand smoke, promotion of smoking cessation programs, and other urgent priorities; and
  • There should be protection for tobacco farmers and their communities so they do not suffer economically because of this legislation.

A Strong Foundation For Future Tobacco Reform. The McCain-Hollings tobacco reform bill currently in the Senate is a good start on the road to passing comprehensive tobacco legislation. The bill will make significant inroads on youth smoking by increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes substantially -- by $1.10 within five years. It gives the FDA the full authority it needs to regulate tobacco products, including youth access and advertising. And it also protects tobacco farmers and their communities so they do not suffer economically because of this legislation.

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