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draft settlement

Lung Association Disappointed As States Approve Tobacco Deal

Statement of John R. Garrison, CEO

November 20, 1998

The American Lung Association is disappointed that the states have settled with the tobacco industry. The deal concedes far too much to Big Tobacco and provides far too little to protect public health.

Fortunately, the war against the disease and death caused by tobacco use is not over. Skirmishes continue on battlefields all across the nation. From state house to courthouse, from city hall to the halls of Congress, we have the tobacco industry on the run. The industry still faces lawsuits from health insurance providers, labor union health plans, class actions brought by injured smokers, and thousands of individual cases. Local ordinances to provide smoke-free environments were only dreams a decade ago but are becoming the norms today. Earlier this month, voters in Oregon and Maine reaffirmed their smoke-free laws despite an onslaught of tobacco industry cash that funded their opposition. The Minnesota settlement forced the release of thousands of documents that have detailed a decades-long trail of deceit by the tobacco industry. And, despite a multi-million-dollar misinformation campaign by the tobacco industry, California voted to increase its cigarette excise tax by 50 cents.

There also is growing recognition that Congress can no longer ignore a product that kills more than 420,000 Americans and millions more around the globe each year.

These successes energize the American Lung Association and its allies as we pursue aggressive action at the state and local levels. The American Lung Association will continue to lead this fight. We will work to ensure that the Medicaid dollars the states recover through the settlement are invested in protecting the public health and eliminating tobacco use.

It is unfortunate that the states have decided not to confront the tobacco industry in the courts. But the American Lung Association will continue its fight on the local, state and national levels to protect our children from the deadly lure of tobacco.