Motivating youth to stay tobaccofree
Empowering smokers to quit
Learn more about Smokefree America.
Anti-smoking Links & Resources
At The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids site, you will get an understanding of the most important issues, which concern the present struggle between government and the tobacco industry. These include your State's current use of the $240 billion settlement with Big Tobacco, a report on the new global treaty on tobacco control, now signed by over 170 nations and ratified by 55. You'll also see samples of recent Kool and Camel ads with DJ's, hiphop artists, and youth partying on the cigarette package, and a report on cigarettes with candy flavorings, like Kuaii Kolada, Twista Lime, Warm Winter Toffee and Mocha Mint. As of May, 2005, seven States are suing to stop the ad campaigns for these brands, claiming they are targeting youth.
At this site, you can also write your member of Congress. Another site to easily lobby lawmakers for smoking bans is www.Smokefree.net. With a just couple of mouse clicks, children and adults alike can send an automated e.m.a.i.l. to key State legislators, and become citizen advocates for local laws banning tobacco. Our favorite part is, legislators will hear the voices of children equally with those of adults. (See Smokescreen Activist Network below.)
At www.Tobacco.org, you can easily research any tobacco question or issue. Their news database contains daily summaries of every news article concerning tobacco, taken from four US newspapers: USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Their database goes back several years, and now contains over 100,000 news articles about tobacco issues. It is very easy to search.
To research a subject which interests you, go to Tobacco.org's home page. Then type in keywords in the search box appropriate to your search. Every news article containing those keywords will come up in the results.
It's a simple, useful and powerful research tool. The tobacco Daily News is presently produced by Gene Borio and his team, and was financed through a grant from Washington DC's American Legacy Foundation, the national Foundation created with funds from the settlement of the States' lawsuits against the tobacco industry. Search at www.Tobacco.org and you are likely to quickly find the answer to your specific question.
Get a free subscription to the Daily Tobacco News
Just go to www.tobacco.org. Click on the Subscribe tab near the top of the page. Next, choose whether you want Daily News, Weekly News, or Breaking News. This means you can have the day's news about tobacco e.m.a.i.l.ed to you daily, once a week, or several times a day, should you choose Breaking News. Next, choose the topics you want.
To avoid being deluged, we reccomend selecting only the Daily Top Stories (4 - 10 stories e.m.a.i.l.ed per day).
However, you can still add in local tobacco news from your State. If you prefer, you can subscribe to the daily news by specific topic -- such as addiction, cessation, secondhand smoke, teen smoking, or the tobacco lawsuits.
Again, if you're just interested in tobacco issues in general, we reccommend starting by subscribing to only the major Daily News stories.
Follow the steps above, and just check off the countries you want news from. There are 224 nations for which Tobacco.org offers news stories -- breaking, daily, weekly.
www.smokefree.net provides an easy way for you to fight back in the most effective way known -- speaking up to lawmakers. Two or three mouse clicks on their E-Z letters page sends an e-mail in your name to lobby U.S. lawmakers on the most pressing tobacco issues of the moment. Simply click on the issue you care about most, and you'll instantly get a draft of a suggested text (which you can easily modify). Click again and it goes off to exactly the right lawmaker -- because when you first register (this is optional), you type in your zip code. This automatically routes all your future e-mail to your own Congressperson or Senator. This site even tackles current local issues in your city or State.
Another great research resource is the University of California San Francisco's Galen II Knowledge Management Library. The following link takes you to a list of scholarly (but easy to comprehend) research on numerous tobacco issues, including the effect of the tobacco industry's campaign contributions on politicians in several States. This is a most impressive and invaluable research resource.
JUST THE FAQS
Our FAQs page quickly answers
idea for a TV ad
Joe Chemo gets laughs!
Download this photo or send for a poster.
Download a large file of this image of Joe, and other cool art, from our sister site for youth, Notobacco.org.
You'll find the Joe Chemo image on our Cool Photos page. The Vancouver-based magazine ADBUSTERS created several hilarious and insightful ads satirizing tobacco advertising. Visit The Media Foundation to see more of their truly ingenious and cutting spoof ads, and to explore the anti-consumerist philosophy which created them.
To order a full size Joe Chemo poster or postcards of their ads, call them directly at (800) 663-1243. Prices are reasonable -- and do ask about an ADBUSTERS magazine subscription. To hear Joe's last words, click here.
In BADvertising Country, artist Bonnie Vierthaler counters the seduction of tobacco ads by doctoring them up to make them honest. By juxtaposing silly, gross and disgusting images on top of tobacco ads, she jolts people into realizing how tobacco ad imagery is concealing the truth, and manipulating young people into tobacco addiction.
Best of all, at this site you can learn How to BADvertise yourself, using scissors and glue or computer and mouse.
Click here for a high resolution file of the Crush Proof Box. It will take 2 to 4 minutes to download on a 56 K modem.
Artist Bonnie Vierthaler's e.m.a.i.l. is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smoking in Movies and TV
In the 1990's, there was a big upsurge in the amount of smoking in movies and TV. Characters in 90's movies were much more likely to smoke than a person in real life. In this way, movies misled many teens into thinking that smoking was more popular than it really was. Even worse, many stars made smoking look cool to young people, including children attending films.
At Tobaccofree.org we do not advocate censorship of the movies. Let's instead deliver a dose of healthy shame to the stars who smoke in films, and make it look cool to our kids. Which stars have been smoking most in films? John Travolta smoked in nearly every film he made in the 1990's. Julia Roberts smoked in several of hers. So did Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Gwenneth Paltrow, and many others.
Young people look up to stars and copy them. It's difficult to measure the negative effect these actors have had on younger children. Stars have a responsibility to not lead our kids in a bad direction. Shame on you folks!
In Superman II, woman reporter Lois Lane, who is a nonsmoker in the comics, chain-smoked Marlboros, and the Marlboro brand name appeared some 40 times in the film. Tobacco giant Phillip Morris paid a mere $40,000 to the producers for this cunning promotion. Of course, Lois Lane is a role model for young girls.
Sylvester Stallone took a $500,000 payment from one tobacco company to smoke their brand in three of his films. Phillip Morris even placed its products in, astoundingly, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Muppet Movie.
Hollywood swears that it has stopped placing cigarette brands in films but we know of one instance in which a tobacco company helped finance a film, and then put its products prominently in it. U.S. Tobacco, which makes most of the chewing tobacco, had a movie production division which made a movie, Pure Country, in which handsome, good-old-boy cowboys chew. Fortunately, it bombed, to the relief of anti-smoking advocates.
There have been more recent reports of cigar companies paying to promote cigars in films. Movie stars have done a great deal to help popularize cigars, such as Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day. Arnold Schwartzenegger, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, and Pierce Brosnan, all appeared on the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine. These stars' use of cigars makes a powerful statement which is not lost on teens as they browse through the nation's magazine racks. Cigars cause mouth and throat cancer, as well as poisoning the air with extra-strong second hand smoke.
Also see our page, Anti-smoking issues in TV and films.
If you just want to find out how much smoking there is in a particular film, whether current releases or past, go to www.screenit.com. They also rate films for violence, language, and more. The well-known movie critic Roger Ebert named ScreenIt as one of the Top Five Most Useful Movie Sites on the Internet. You can actually go to a review of any film at the site and check out the smoking rating for that movie.
INTERNATIONAL TOBACCO CONTROL
GLOBALink is the International Tobacco-Control Network. Operated by the International Union Against Cancer, Globalink relays information and discussions on international tobacco-control developments, including news articles, analysis, updates on U.S. developments, and reports from tobacco control advocates around the world. More information is available from http://www.globalink.org/globdemo/.
A selection of GLOBALink News Bulletins and resources is available on http://www.globalink.org/tobacco/ Access is free of charge, but password protected. To join GLOBALink, visit: http://join.globalink.org/ or e.m.a.i.l. email@example.com.
www.Tobacco.org offers a great free e.m.a.i.l. subscription to the Daily Tobacco News from 224 nations. You may select among them, and get the news daily or weekly, from only the nations you choose. See the Tobacco.org instructions, close to the top of this page.
Sadly, as of November 2002, the Bush Administration is continuing to thwart a new global treaty to limit tobacco advertising. This article tells the story, which says, "'The future of Philip Morris lies in the developing world,' said Ross Hammond, an activist affiliated with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids... More importantly, the company has showered Republican politicians with money to get its point across. According to public records, Philip Morris contributed $2.7 million to Republican causes in the most recent election cycle, compared with a risk-hedging $538,000 handed to the Democrats. Since 1989, the company has lavished no less than $14.3 million on its Republican friends, making it one of the the party's largest donors. " Click here for the full story.
Another good resource is Robert Weissman's mailing list. To subscribe,
send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following all in one line: subscribe intl-tobacco <your
name> Put this line in both the subject and in the text of
your e-mail message. You may also e-mail, write or telephone the
following to receive it: ASH, 6 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H
9PL UK Tel: 0171-224 0743 Fax: 0171-224 0471
www.prevention.ch is overseen by Jean Charles Rielle, a leading Swiss tobaccofree activist. Mostly in French, the site offers links to top international tobacco control resources.
Courtesy of The American Cancer Society
best website on chewing tobacco is The
Patchproject -- check it out. It includes terrific quitting
tips and plenty of truly horrendous photos of disease caused by
dip. At this site we also include an eye-opening section on chewing
tobacco, on our Message to Youth page.
There we reveal that the tobacco industry pays convenience
stores and supermarkets up to $100 per month per display, sometimes
more, to place those displays on or behind countertops (according
to State law) --whether or not the products are actually selling.
These tobacco displays make tobacco look like a normal American
product, and when they were first introduced, they deceived many
teens into believing chewing tobacco was more popular than it
really was. These displays are often placed rignt alongside the
candy, which catches the eyes of children. Finally, these tobacco
displays often face away from the cashier, where they are easy
for kids to shoplift -- and all the tobacco industry has to do
is wait until our teens become addicted.
MARSEE'S SAD STORY
Photos courtesy of The American Cancer Society and the Marsee family
At our Message to Youth page, we also tell the moving story of Sean Marsee, a high school athlete who had won 28 medals in track competitions. He chewed tobacco and, with his athletic prowess and excellent health, never thought he would get cancer. But he did. He then endured three operations, which first removed his tongue, and finally much of his jaw and many of his neck muscles. Sean died at age 19, sad and disfigured, and in unspeakable pain. These photos are his legacy and his gift to those who are experimenting with, or already addicted to, these deadly products. A USA Today column wrote of our presentation of Sean's story, "This was probably the most effective argument I found online." For Sean's story, see our Message to Youth page.
THE BRIAN CURTIS STORY
Bryan Curtis, age 33, of St Petersberg,Florida, holds his son Bryan Jr., 2, in this March 29, 1999 photo. The photo below was taken just two months later. [Photo: Curtis Family]
June 3, 1999 -- the day of Bryan's death. Bryan's
wife Bobbie and son Bryan
For the full strory, visit the Brian
Curtis page at WhyQuit.com.
you want to talk to a live human being, and we can
surely understand that, call the National Cancer Institute's free
Smoking Quitline, 1-877-448-7848. Proactive counseling services by trained
personnel will be provided in sessions both before and after quitting
Also at our Quitting Tips page, you'll learn the classic, boilerplate points found in the best quit smoking programs, and you'll read about and see links to several of the best, proven smoking cessation programs.
You may think you don't need a program, but a recent CDC study shows that without using any program, quitters fail 95% of the time.
Another recent study comparing the patch and Zyban notes that after one year, users of the nicotine patch have a 15% success rate, and users of the anti-depressant Zyban (by prescription) have double the success rate -- 30%. In a separate study, one doctor used both the patch and Zyban simultaneously, and claimed a better than 35% success rate.
Even with Zyban, users still have a 70% failure rate -- so this is not simply a matter of taking a magic pill or wearing a patch. There are several very important boilerplate points for quitters to know about.
Here's a thought about using a program: the fact is, people who succeed best at life tend to get help. For example, a successful businessperson gets lots of help -- a lawyer to write the contracts, an ad agency to handle the advertising, an accountant to do the accounting, and so on. So people who succeed in reaching their goals get help, and plenty of it. Yes, real men do ask directions! And good students ask questions, too.
So check out our Quitting Tips and learn a little more about the basics of quitting. We also point you to several excellent programs out there, with no benefit to our group. Our Quitting Tips will be an invaluable tool, empowering you and helping you learn a bit more, so you will stop successfully this time.
cool youth sites
Brace yourself, and then check out this incredibly moving photo of a 34 year old man dying from smoking-caused lung cancer, posted at this excellent site. In this powerful photo, published in the St Petersberg (Florida) Times, Brian Lee Curtis is gravely ill. His wife cries during her bedside vigil, as she holds their young son in her arms. WhyQuit.com is a great site, full of reasons to avoid starting to smoke.
What can I do
if someone I love smokes?
The best way to ask loved ones to quit will be found on this site's Message to Youth page, a little more than half way down the page, under the title in red, What Can I Do If My Parents Smoke? We strongly suggest that you not nag loved ones every day, or even every month, to stop. Ask them gently and briefly, no more than three or four times a year.
However, you may speak up as often as you like about second hand smoke.
Nagging a loved one about their addiction will probably make them angry, and further entrench them in their habit, as a way of expressing their anger (if a foolish way!) Remember, when you're angry, speak up about it, instead of hurting yourself out of your anger.
Second hand smoke poisons you, and that is your business. In conclusion, there's an important difference between nagging someone about their smoking habit, and speaking up about air that harms you. Ask smokers in your home to take it outdoors, no matter what!
What can parents can do
to motivate their kids not to start?
In our Message to Youth, a little more than halfway down the page, look for a section titled, What Parents Can Do. It offers great advice to parents on how to more effectively motivate children and teens to stay smokefree.
How do I ask a parent or friend
not to smoke?
You'll find a very specific answer to this on our Message to Youth page. It's very near the top of the page; look for a title in red that says, If Cigarette Ads Told the Truth About Smoking. Right under the Utter FOOL poster is the answer.
This info is useful for more than saying no to tobacco. You can use this formula for just about anything you wish to say no to. Check it out!
THE FOUNDATION FOR A SMOKEFREE AMERICA was founded in 1989 by Patrick Reynolds, the tobacco-free advocate and grandson of RJ Reynolds. Its mission is to educate people of all ages about smoking and tobacco use. Goals include establishing in-house programs to fight smoking at the local, regional and national levels; educating children through smoking prevention programs; and enacting peer teaching programs designed to empower youth to defend themselves against the onslaught of cigarette advertising and peer pressure.
present, the organization is seeking grants and major gifts to
develop and implement its programs. Founder Patrick Reynolds'
motivational talk, Message to Youth,
has had impact on many thousands of middle school students and
teens in high school.
Or mail your tax-deductible
for Nonsmokers' Rights is
actively lobbying for clean indoor air for everyone. They're an
eminently worthy group, and played a significant role in the battle
to pass clean indoor air laws around the nation, educate children
and youth about smoking and spit tobacco, and much more. Support
their group with whatever membership level you can afford, and
receive their excellent newsletter. Their web address is http://www.no-smoke.org.
ASH is devoted to protecting the health of nonsmokers as well as their
rights, and to taking legal action against smoking in the workplace
and much more. They can be found on the net at http://ash.org/
NO BUTTS, NO LITTER, PLEASE!
Nobutz.com is a resource for anyone who's tired of seeing cigarette butts littering up the sidewalk and landscape. In addition, there you can buy hats and T-shirts with various no butz messages.
For Kindergarden through 2nd grade
The Tale of Samantha Skunk
This excellent do-it-yourself program captivates young children. "The tale of Samantha Skunk: Why Smoking Stinks" is a program that brings peer student leaders to classrooms as lovable magenta skunks. They connect with the children by reading to them from a jumbo-sized book, dressed as Samantha Skunk.
This unique program is one of the first to bring preschool and primary school children an anti-smoking message they can easily remember. Samantha's creator Bill Scott will provide the purple skunk costume, and an oversized book and tape to train the young presenters. The costume and materials can be rented for two weeks for $200, or purchased outright for $1000.
More Cool Youth Sites
Tips for Teens and are two anti-smoking pages sponsored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, present important facts, fun activities, a message from the Surgeon General and an interview with Boyz II Men on their campaign to put an end to teen smoking. The url's are http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/osh/tipskids.htm and http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/osh/tipsteen.htm.
a great online source for tobacco intervention and cessation programs
for teens. Their tobacco intervention and cessation curricula
meets CDC guidelines, is research based, and is award winning.
Recently we’ve seen multi-million dollar awards to single smokers, a $200 billion settlement with 46 States, and a new Federal lawsuit under consideration. Key question: shouldn't smokers be accountable for the disease they bring on themselves by smoking? Mr. Reynolds responds, "Of course they should. But does that mean we should let the tobacco industry go unaccountable for its part in the problem?
"Even before the damaging documents provided by the whistleblowers came to light, one court held the smoker 60% responsible and the tobacco company being sued 40% liable. When solid evidence was introduced that the tobacco industry knew all along that its products were addictive and caused death, and were targeting youth in their ads, the balance of liability shifted toward Big Tobacco."
potential lawsuit against the tobacco industry
Potential plaintiffs may contact the Tobacco Trial Lawyers Association, which has a national network of lawyers who represent plaintiffs in tobacco litigation. Their website is www.ttlaonline.com.
Another resource is the Tobacco Control Resource Center (TCRC), located in Massachusetts, 617-373-2026. This center has a litigation referral section that specializes in linking plaintiffs with tobacco law attorneys, based on location and other needs. The litigation section on TCRC's website is www.tobacco.neu.edu/litigation/referrals.htm.
"The good news is that in April 1999, all outdoor tobacco billboards were taken down for good. Starting in 2000, the use of cartoon characters, and "gear" like T-shirts and baseball hats sporting tobacco logos, also came to an end.
"The four States who settled first -- Florida, Texas, Minnesota and Mississippi -- received a total settlement of $40 billion, proportionally more than the remaining States later received. Each of the first four agreed to put a significant portion of their settlement money into anti-tobacco counter-advertising, cessation, and school-based tobacco education and prevention programs. Many of their early counter ads attacked the tobacco industry, as California's pioneering ad campaign had done.
"Florida's tobacco prevention campaign resulted in the most successful effort ever. By early 2000, there had been a 50% reduction in middle school smoking in Florida as a result of their well-funded program.
Republican Senator John McCain, who was in the news in April, 2001 for bucking his own Party and championing his landmark campaign finance reform bill, in 1997 introduced another visionary bill before Congress. It would have settled all the remaining States' lawsuits against Big Tobacco.
McCain's national tobacco settlement bill would have awarded more money, and also contained more teen tobacco prevention money, and stronger limits on tobacco advertising than were later agreed to by the States.
But it also would have granted Big Tobacco immunity from all future class action suits.
A little noticed fight broke out at the highest levels of the anti-smoking movement, with the American Lung Association one side, siding with the more outspoken advocates, and the American Cancer Society on the other. The Lung Association objected to giving Big Tobacco any form of immunity from future lawsuits; the Cancer Society was willing to accept immunity in exchange for the huge concessions on advertising which McCain's bill contained. Another concern many had was that the legislative branch of government was clearly overstepping its Constitutional boundaries, and interfering with the judicial branch. Congress had done next to nothing to regulate tobacco for 30 years, and now they were going to interfere with the courts, where real progress was being made against Big Tobacco.
Pressure built as anti-smoking advocates, including Senator Ted Kennedy, moved to increase the amount of money the tobacco industry would have to pay. Finally, the bubble burst. One tobacco company withdrew from the negotiations, claiming the money requirements would bankrupt them.
Not surprisingly, the coup de grace to McCain's tobacco settlement bill was administered by his own Republican leadership. Both Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich had been consistent protectors of Big Tobacco, and both were always grateful for the tobacco companies' enormous campaign contributions to their party. In recent years, 80% of Big Tobacco's political donations had gone to Republicans. It came as no surprise that Gingrich and Lott found some obscure procedural rules, and used them to effectively kill the bill. McCain's Tobacco Settlement Deal was dead.
Now that there would be no national deal, the States' attorneys general held a series of intense meetings behind closed doors. Anti-smoking advocates complained loudly that they had been mostly excluded. Finally, in late 1998, the remaining 46 States signed what became known as the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).
The MSA did create a national foundation for tobacco education, the American Legacy Foundation in Washington DC. But only $1.45 billion went into it, an amount less than 1% of the total settlement. Although the income from the national foundation is now about $300 million per year, the tobacco industry spent $5 billion on advertising in 1998, and a similar amount in prior years. Then in 1999, they increased it to an astounding $8 billion! Much of that went to keep countertop displays on countertops in grocery and convenience stores. (See www.tobaccofree.org/children.htm.)
Florida has cut middle school smoking by 50%. These programs work effectively, but only when they are well funded. More of the Tobacco Settlement should also be used to help make up the enormous gap between the $8 billion the tobacco industry spends annually on cigarette advertising, and the $300 million the American Legacy Foundation has to work with annually.
In summary, it's critical that the States now allocate more funds for tobacco prevention and education. 99% of the settlement money simply went into each State's general fund, without any requirement to allocate dollars for the kind of tremendously successful youth tobacco prevention programs implemented in Florida. Our next task is to convince our legislators of this need, and that these programs really do work.
In 2000, the American Legacy Foundation began running some hard-hitting ads on national TV. In one TV spot, 'Body Bag,' 1200 body bags were piled up outside a tobacco company's headquarters in NYC, to show tobacco executives what just one day's US death from smoking might look like.
The Campaign for Tobaccofree Kids reported that as of April, 2001, only 17 States have allocated a substantial portion of their Settlement funds to provide tobacco education and cessation programs, according to CDC recommended guidelines. Few have exceeded the CDC's minimum recommended amounts.
The current details of which States are spending money on tobacco education and prevention, as well as a current State by State status report, may be found at the web page, http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements/.
Why did the Attorneys General accept a weaker than necessary Settlement Agreement with Big Tobacco? One sad but possible answer is that many had an eye on the tobacco industry's campaign donations for their future political races -- a race for Governor here, a Senate seat there.
In agreeing to the MSA, tobacco industry attorneys may have considered that the national foundation might make it appear to State legislators as though enough funding for tobacco prevention and education had already been allocated. In addition there is a mistaken presumption among many politicians that tobacco education programs don't work. However, let us remember that follow up surveys prove that the Florida programs have resulted in a 50% reduction of middle school smoking.
Meanwhile, the tobacco companies have continued an unprecedented binge of contributions to politicians. Sadly, this will no doubt prevent many States from allocating further settlement funds for tobacco education programs. Strong campaign finance reform will do much to correct this problem.
These are the primary reasons that so many States have set aside only a fraction of the funds needed to duplicate Florida's success. With patience and persistence, however, and with the passage of strong campaign finance reform, advocates can begin to change legislators' minds about tobacco prevention programs.
These programs work. It's just a question of seeing to it that our legislators be presented with the existing scientific proof of this. If lawmakers are shown the existing evidence that these programs work, elected officials will have a clear and pressing mandate to fulfill the promise made by all the States in the beginning. While their lawsuits were still in progress, States vowed to use a substantial portion of any Settlement money to prevent youth from becoming addicted to tobacco. For a majority of States, it is a promise still waiting to be kept. Sadly, the real losers here are our children.
In April, 2001, President Bush's proposed budget drastically cut funds for the Justice Department's lawsuit against the tobacco industry. This may result in a $100 billion savings to Big Tobacco.
Medicare and Medicaid are paid 50-50 by the States and the Federal government. Now that the States have recovered $246 billion through their settlement, there is a clear legal precedent for the Federal government to recover its share as well.
It may even be unconstitutional for the executive branch of government to interfere so blatantly with the judicial branch. It's the court system, not Congress, which enabled those who fight tobacco to make their greatest progress.
Many anti-smoking advocates saw Bush's move as a brazen protection of Big Tobacco. Bush has hired several people who have worked closely with the cigarette industry, like chief political strategist Carl Rove. While many were dismayed, few in the tobacco control community were very surprised.
According to Common Cause, the tobacco companies gave over $5.37 million in campaign donations in 1999 and 2000 -- with $4.7 million, or 88%, going to Republicans. Is it really just a coincidence that Bush drastically cut the funding of the Federal lawsuit against Big Tobacco? No corporation gives away millions of dollars without a good reason. Department of Justice lawyers reported they would need $57 million to continue, but Bush is offered just $1.8 million. In truth, this budget point, if adopted, would mean the end of the Federal lawsuit.
The best remedy here is strong, uncompromising campaign finance reform. The McCain-Feingold bill has been passed by the Senate, but it now faces a major battle in the House.
It's critically important that voters call their House Representatives, and urge them to vote for the McCain-Feingold bill -- just as it is, without the watering down it surely faces at the hands of many Republican members. After all, Republicans have a big historical advantage in fundraising, and in the past, they have filibustered repeatedly to successfully block campaign reform.
Looking at the public perception of the tobacco lawsuits, many people feel that smokers should be accountable for the disease and death they bring on themselves by their choice to continue to smoke. They should, no question.
But does that mean we should let the tobacco industry go unaccountable for its part in causing the problem? They targeted young people in their ad campaigns, they failed to warn of the addictiveness of their products, and for years they claimed publicly that smoking doesn't cause disease.
As to the 'choice' to smoke, for many, smoking is a nearly unbeatable addiction, and there is far less choice than the tobacco companies have suggested to their customers. Eighty percent of smokers became addicted before reaching age 19, and cigarettes are as addicting as heroin, according to Dr. Koop's report.
Looking at the bigger picture, it's significant that it's not Congress who is bringing Big Tobacco to heel. It's the judicial branch of government, and local coalitions.
For 30 years, Congress has passed no Federal workplace smoking law, no laws making it harder for kids to buy cigarettes, no limits on tobacco advertising, and no substantial Federal cigarette tax increase. I believe the primary reason for this is our present system of campaign finance and special interest lobbying.
It's ominous that corporations like Big Tobacco can acquire this much power over our Federal government. Until recently, the court system is our best means of ensuring that fewer of our children become addicted to smoking. Now that Campaign Finance Reform has passed, in March 2002, we are hopeful that things will begin to change for the better in government.
|Cool anti-smoking ads, photos and art|
for a Smokefree America
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|Copyright © 1998-2002 by Patrick Reynolds, PRI & The
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internal-linked pages and antismoking graphics. Reproduction of any components
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is expressly prohibited, unless otherwise indicated at this anti-tobacco site.
CRUSHED BUTT LOGO © 1995 by PRI
Spoof anti-smoking cigarette ads are © by Adbusters magazine
MODERN LOGO © 1984 by Gene Seidman,