THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association issued a report showing that while some states have devoted a substantial portion of their tobacco settlement to reduce youth smoking, most have committed only modest or minimal funds. Tobacco companies are spending 10 times more to market their product than all 50 states combined are spending on tobacco prevention and cessation. I encourage all states to commit a significant part of their settlement to address the harm that tobacco companies have caused through decades of deceptive marketing, especially to youth.
With a clear ruling last week by a U.S. District Court allowing the case to proceed to trial, the Attorney General today reaffirmed her intention to hold tobacco companies accountable for their actions. Tobacco companies have saddled generations of Americans with unnecessary health costs and premature death by fraudulently marketing their products to youth and deceiving the American public about the dangers of tobacco use. More than 400,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related diseases, and 80 percent of them started smoking as children. Today, I renew my call to Congress to reject special protections for Big Tobacco and provide the funds necessary to allow this case to be decided in the courtroom, not the back room. Together with our partners in the states, we can and must make the health of our children a priority. The American people deserve their day in court.