Statement by the President: Tobacco (8/9/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                       August 9, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

   A new report today by the Surgeon General demonstrating that we can cut
tobacco use in half over the next decade lends strong new impetus to our
fight against the dangers of cigarette smoking.  Over 400,000 Americans die
every year from tobacco-related diseases.  Every day,  3,000 children under
the age of 18 start smoking, and 1,000 will have their lives cut short as a
result.  Today?s report not only underscores the urgency of reducing
tobacco use -- the single leading cause of preventable death and disease in
the United States -- but also provides powerful scientific evidence about
the wide range of effective tools available to get the job done.

   Vice President Gore and I have worked hard to protect our nation's
children from the dangers of tobacco.  Today, I again urge Congress to
provide FDA with the authority to protect our nation?s children and to fund
my budget initiatives to reduce youth smoking.  I also call on Congress to
support the Department of Justice lawsuit to recover the taxpayer costs of
tobacco-related illness by holding the tobacco industry accountable for the
harm it has caused.

   When Congress returns in September, it will have another opportunity to
join us in making the health of our children a priority by rejecting the
interests of big tobacco and letting the American taxpayers have their day
in court.

   Today?s report also reinforces the importance of comprehensive state
tobacco control efforts, which have demonstrated powerful results in
reducing tobacco use in leading states.  I renew my call for more states to
use the resources available from the state tobacco settlement on efforts to
reduce smoking among our young people.


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