THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT OF VICE PRESIDENT GORE
The announcement today by the Liggett Group and 22 state Attorneys General is a historic victory for the American people. The Liggett Group, a major U.S. tobacco company, publicly acknowledged what we have all known for yea rs: that nicotine is addictive, tobacco causes cancer, and the tobacco industr y specifically markets to youth. It's about time the tobacco companies told the American people the truth.
Smoking is causing a national health epidemic in this country. Every day 3,000 teenagers become smokers and nearly 1,000 of those will have their lives shortened by tobacco-related illnesses. A person who begins smoking will do so, on average, at about 14 years old. They quickly become addicted and eventually become sick. This is wrong. Tobacco products are hooking our children and cutting short their lives.
President Clinton and I have worked tirelessly to address this issue. We strongly support new Food and Drug Administration regulations that keep cigarette manufacturers from marketing to children and prohibit the sale of cigarettes to people under the age of 18. We must keep cigarettes away from children.
The effects of tobacco are deadly. The American people know it. T he tobacco companies know it. The tobacco companies can no longer ignore the facts or the will of the American people. Today's announcement is an important step toward holding tobacco companies accountable for their products, an important step toward protecting our children.