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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 20, 1998

                              May 20, 1998

President Clinton today will applaud the Senate for taking up comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to reduce teen smoking dramatically. He will announce that the bill before the Senate, Senator McCain's Manager's Amendment, is a strong bill, and he will urge Congress to pass it this week.

The President will express his strong support for the significant improvements made to the McCain bill, which will help reduce youth smoking and protect the public health, including:

Tough industry-wide and company-specific surcharges that will finally make reducing youth smoking the tobacco companies' bottom line;

Protection for all Americans from the health hazards of secondhand smoke;

A dedicated fund to provide for: 1) substantial increase in health research funding; 2) a nationwide counteradvertising campaign to reduce youth smoking; 3) effective state and local programs in tobacco education, prevention, and cessation; 4) law enforcement efforts to prevent smuggling and crack down on retailers who sell tobacco products to children; 5) assistance for tobacco farmers and their communities; and 6) funds for the states to make additional efforts to promote public health and protect children;

No antitrust exemption for the tobacco industry;

Strong licensing and anti-smuggling provisions to prevent the emergence of a contraband market and prosecute violators; and

Elimination of special protection for parent companies of tobacco manufacturers, an increase in the annual cap on damages to $8 billion per year, and changes to ensure that legal protections are available only to tobacco companies that change the way they do business, by agreeing to accept sweeping restrictions on advertising, continue making annual payments and lookback surcharges even if those provisions are struck down, make substantial progress toward meeting the youth smoking reduction targets, prevent their top management from taking part in any scheme to promote smuggling, and abide by the terms of the legislation rather than tying it up in court.

The President will be joined by the Vice President; Tara Lipinsky, Spokesperson for the National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Emily Broxterman, the Campaign's National Youth Advocate Award Winner; 1400 students who are active in the National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; and public health and tobacco control advocates. The students attend the following eight schools in the local D.C. area: Jefferson Holmes Middle School (Alexandria, VA), Beverly Farms Elementary School (Potomac, MD), Stuart-Hobson Middle School (Washington, DC), Lincoln Multicultural Middle School (Washington, DC), Francis Junior High School (Washington, DC), Jefferson Junior High School (Washington, DC), McFarland Junior High School (Washington, DC), and Sousa Middle School (Washington, DC).