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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 27, 1997


Today, during the signing of the Drug-Free Communities Act, President Clinton reiterated his commitment to a rigorous public health review of the proposed settlement. The President also announced that Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala and Domestic Policy Advisor Bruce Reed will lead the comprehensive analysis.

Public Health Review

As President Clinton said today, the Administration's preliminary analysis will be conducted by four interdepartmental review panels. Each panel will include representatives from the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Where appropriate, each of them will also include representatives of other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Treasury, Justice, Labor, Agriculture, Veterans' Affairs, Interior, and Defense, the General Services Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The four panels will focus on four key areas:

Regulatory Issues. The regulatory panel will primarily review the elements in the proposed settlement affecting FDA jurisdiction. The panel will also examine issues surrounding environmental tobacco smoke.

Program and Budget Issues. The program and budget panel will look at proposed uses of settlement funds, including the anti-smoking advertising campaign, grassroots programs, smoking cessation, and any issues that involve research on nicotine, tobacco and health, and smoking cessation.

Legal Issues. The legal panel will examine issues around liability, enforcement, compliance, and the disposition of tobacco industry documents.

Industry Issues. The industry issues panel will examine the settlement's proposed targets, penalties and incentives; evaluate potential international impacts of the settlement; and conduct an economic analysis.

President Clinton's Plan to Reduce Youth Tobacco Use

On August 23, 1996, President Clinton announced the nation's first-ever comprehensive program to protect children from the dangers of tobacco and a lifetime of nicotine addiction. The President's program was launched with the publication of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) final rule on tobacco and children, and with FDA's initiation of a process to require tobacco companies to educate children and adolescents -- using a national multi-media campaign -- about the dangers of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The first provisions of the rule -- making 18 the age for the purchase of tobacco products nationwide and requiring photo IDs for anyone under age 27 -- became effective February 28, 1997. The President's comprehensive and coordinated plan is intended to reduce tobacco use by children and adolescents by 50 percent in seven years. This ambitious initiative will work to accomplish this objective while preserving the availability of tobacco products for adults. The proposed tobacco settlement will be evaluated within this framework to evaluate whether it meets the President's objectives.

Working Toward Our Fundamental Goal

As the President has said, protecting the public health -- and particularly our children's health -- is and has always been our primary concern. We know that nearly 3,000 young people become regular smokers each day, and nearly 1,000 of these children and adolescents will die early from their use of tobacco products. We must do everything in our power to dramatically reduce smoking by young people because they deserve a life free from the disease that comes with using tobacco.