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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 27, 1998
                      VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES 

            Challenges Researchers to Help Better Understand 
                Tobacco Addiction and How To Prevent It

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today that the National Cancer Institute plans to allocate $38 million for additional research into prevention and cessation programs to reduce tobacco use, and he posed five questions for researchers to help Americans better understand tobacco addiction and how to prevent it.

"These investments in more research can help turn the tide on the tobacco epidemic," the Vice President said in a speech to 600 researchers and public heath advocates at the first conference on nicotine addiction sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"President Clinton and I see tobacco research not just as a policy priority, but as a moral obligation," he added. "By funding groundbreaking new tobacco research, we will harness the full power of science and technology to protect our children."

This $38 million is part of the President's 1999 budget, which includes an unprecedented increase in funding for research at NIH. The National Cancer Institute, which is part of NIH, plans to spend this money over the next two years:

to determine if adult cessation programs, including the nicotine patch, and nicotine gum work for children; to find other successful cessation programs for children; and to enable university researchers to learn why some children can resist tobacco advertising and marketing that is targeted at them;

to work with the National Institute of Drug Abuse in genetics research to discover genetic factors that contribute to tobacco addiction;

to provide epidemiological research to track patterns in children's smoking over a longer period than ever before;

to find new, better treatments for adults addicted to nicotine; and

to extend the National Cancer Institute's American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST) program, a joint effort with the American Cancer Society and 17 state health departments, to focus the newest tobacco control research on populations that are still smoking and those that disproportionally use tobacco products, including minorities.

The Vice President posed five questions for researchers to help promote more understanding of tobacco addiction: (1) what makes nicotine so addictive? (2) what makes someone move from experimenting with a tobacco product to addiction? (3) how can we help children resist the temptation to try tobacco products? (4) what treatments work best for nicotine addiction? (5) what treatments work best for teenage smokers?

The Vice President also renewed his call for Congress to pass comprehensive tobacco legislation to reduce youth smoking. Each day, he said, 3,000 young people start smoking, 1,000 of whom will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease. In addition, over three million teenagers -- over 22 percent of high school students -- smoke cigarettes on a daily basis.