DOJ Suit Viewed As A Political Issue

Tobacco Daily News Summaries
Thursday, 9/23/99
[continued from Index page back]

Reaction to the news of the Justice Department's lawsuit has been strong from all sides. A consistent theme from opponents of the suit is that it is "politically motivated." These critics need to be reminded that the decision to sue wasn't made until after 35 years of trying to find other ways to alleviate the problem. The tobacco industry has done everything in its power to stop tobacco control legislation at the local, state and federal levels. The voluntary "anti-smoking" programs they've created have been shown to be shams over and over again. They have found ways to circumvent attempts to restrict the advertising and marketing of their products and to cast doubt on any health information the government has made public.

Regardless of the motivation of the lawsuit, it is clear that it is an important political issue involving Congress (which will decide whether or not to appropriate funds for the suit) and the next President (who will decide whether or not the suit should progress.) It is likely, therefore, that the lawsuit will be an important issue in next year's election campaigns. Advocates should waste no time in demanding that candidates for House and Senate seats and the Presidency make clear whether or not they intend to support this lawsuit. Candidates who will not support it -- or who avoid giving a clear answer -- should explain what other course they will support to reduce tobacco-related problems.

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