THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE URGES CONGRESS TO PASS COMPREHENSIVE TOBACCO LEGISLATION NEXT WEEK Holds Youth Roundtable with 40 Washington D.C. Kids
Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore today called on Congress to pass comprehensive tobacco legislation next week in order to reduce youth smoking, and help give all of America's kids a brighter, smoke-free future.
"Next week, the Senate will vote on whether to end the debate and begin to decide the fate of our children," the Vice President said. "The time for talk is over and the time for action has come. I applaud the work the Senate has already done, but urge them to act quickly while we have the momentum, and not let this historic opportunity pass us by."
The Vice President hosted a Youth Tobacco Roundtable which included 40 children ages 9-18 mainly from the Washington area. The children are involved in a number of anti-teen smoking programs, including:
School Without Walls: Most of the students are from the Washington D.C. School Without Walls in grades 9-12. These students participated in the George Washington University Coalition for a Smoke-Free Youth as a class project. Throughout this project, they take part in information sessions and workshops on the dangers of smoking and the effects of smoking on the body. Students Oppose Smoking: This is a group of 8-12 grade student smokers and non-smokers from Montgomery County, MD who are dedicated to curbing the problem of teen tobacco use. They have made several proposals to reduce teen smoking in the Montgomery County school system, including: encouraging schools to provide pulmonary function machines in health rooms to show the damage inflicted by smoking and second-hand smoke; calling for more anti-tobacco laws in their community and schools and for the laws and the consequences to be posted in their schools, and; starting tobacco cessation programs during school hours with trained counselors who can work with students. Tobacco Free Children's Project: The students participating in this project have been lobbying the Metro Transit Authority to provide space on all buses for posters, essays and paintings of anti-tobacco messages for youth. Additionally, they are providing their classmates with information on the consequences of smoking using information from adults who have been smoking. In the future, they plan to create a website with a focus on anti-tobacco information for youth.