VICE PRESIDENT GORE LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN TO HELP STOP TOBACCO SALES TO CHILDREN
"With this new campaign, and our call for bipartisan, comprehensive anti-tobacco legislation, we can give our young people a healthier, smoke-free tomorrow -- and it can't come a day too soon."
Vice President Gore, February 27, 1998
Today, Vice President Gore announced a new national campaign to educate consumers and help retailers prevent illegal sales of tobacco products to children. In launching the new campaign, the Vice President also underscored the need for comprehensive national tobacco legislation to finish the job and dramatically reduce youth tobacco use.
In addition, the Vice President announced progress by the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in implementing the Synar Amendment, legislation that requires states to monitor retailer compliance to ensure they prohibit tobacco sales to children.
The Vice President's announcement marked the first anniversary of the implementation of the landmark Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tobacco rule designed to reduce the incidence of youth smoking. The FDA rule made it a federal violation to sell cigarettes or spit tobacco to anyone younger than age 18, and required retailers to ask for photo identification from anyone younger than 27 who attempts to purchase these tobacco products.
A NEW CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT YOUTH TOBACCO USE. Today, the Vice President launched FDA's bold, new national education campaign that uses creative point-of-sale, radio, print, and billboard advertisements to make clear to consumers and retailers that tobacco sales to minors are against the law. On Sunday, March 1, 1998 Arkansas will become the first state to run the advertisements, with IO other states joining the campaign in late spring: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. The FDA plans to expand the campaign to all 50 states by the end of 1998.
PROGRESS IN STATE EFFORTS TO REDUCE TOBACCO SALES TO CHILDREN. Today, the Vice President also announced progress in implementing the Synar Amendment, a 1992 law named after the late Representative Mike-Synar of Oklahoma. Under the law, states are required to assess retailers compliance with state youth tobacco access laws. To enforce the rule, states have enlisted youth volunteers in each state to conduct undercover compliance checks, accompanied by state officials. According to the report announced by the Vice President and issued by SAMHSA: four states -- Florida, Maine, New Hampshire and Washington - have already met the retailer compliance requirements set by the law. Three more states -- Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont -- are scheduled to meet the goal in 1999. The remaining states are expected to achieve these results between 2000 and 2003.
FINISHING THE JOB. As Vice President Gore emphasized today, the Clinton Administration has put historic measures in place to reduce youth tobacco use, and is using all of the tools at its disposal to prevent kids from beginning to use tobacco products in the first place. But to finish the job and make a lasting reduction in youth tobacco use, Congress must enact comprehensive legislation that will cut youth smoking in half in seven years. The five key elements that President Clinton has said must be included in tobacco legislation are: (1) a comprehensive plan to reduce youth smoking by raising the price of a pack of cigarettes by up to $1.50 over ten years through a combination of annual payments and tough penalties on the tobacco industry; (2) full authority for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products; (3) changes in the way the tobacco industry does business, including an end to marketing and promotion to children; (4) 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 (5) protection for tobacco farmers and their communities.