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Statement by Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook on Federal Tobacco Legislation Video

March 26, 1998

Statement by Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook on Federal Tobacco Legislation Video

On behalf of Public Citizen, I am pleased to stand here today with these members of Congress who are leading the effort to pass strong and effective national tobacco control legislation that will protect public health and hold the tobacco industry accountable for its decades of deception and disease. We oppose any sweetheart deal for this industry that lied to and cheated the American public.

The video released today will help educate more and more Americans not only about the harm caused by tobacco, but about Big Tobacco s conspiracy to hide critical health information and its insidious marketing campaigns aimed at children. After watching this video, no one could support giving this industry any special protections from legal liability. As Senator Conrad has said, they certainly don t deserve any.

To help in this effort, Public Citizen will make this video available to all of the members of our coalition: Save Lives, Not Tobacco: A Coalition for Accountability. Save Lives formed last fall to convince Congress that it is time to stop making deals with the tobacco industry and start working on legislation to protect the public health. Save Lives has grown to represent a large and diverse coalition of 347 national, state and local groups, including the American Lung Association and other public health, consumer, medical, civic, labor and business organizations all advocating fair and effective tobacco control policies. The efforts of the hundreds of groups around the country that have joined Save Lives, Not Tobacco will convince Congress to do the right thing.

The Save Lives, Not Tobacco Principles and Goals have provided Congress with a roadmap for fair and effective national legislation that does not give the tobacco cartel unprecedented special protections from responsibility for its deadly products.

Public Citizen endorses the bills introduced by Senator Conrad and Representative Fazio which have followed the right approach to this important national issue: protect public health, reduce teen smoking, raise the price of tobacco products, and reject special protections. The popular support emerging across the country for these bills will make it harder for Congress to bail out the tobacco industry with an unprecedented, undeserved and undemocratic immunity deal.