Debate and Issues Archive

draft settlement


November 20, 1998

By noon today, you are to make a decision that will affect the state of New Mexico as well as the entire country for the next twenty-five years. In that time, the American taxpayer will pay thousands of dollars to support programs that bring medical assistance to those with tobacco-related illnesses.

In that time, American citizens, their employers or other providers, will pay thousands of dollars to support the payments made by private insurance companies for tobacco-related illnesses and deaths.

Yet this issue is about more than money. This issue is about humankind. Over the course of this twenty-five year deal:

  • Approximately 13 million Americans will prematurely die due to their tobacco addictions,
  • An estimated twenty-seven million American teenagers will begin smoking, and
  • Nine million of these individuals - our children - will eventually die because of their addiction to tobacco.

Our coalition has supported you for some time. You have been a wonderful representative of the citizens of New Mexico. With great anticipation, we await your arrival in Washington.

Today, we ask you to be a statesman. We ask you to make the right and morally correct decision for New Mexico.

In the short time we have had to review the proposed settlement, we believe it to be an unacceptable arrangement. At present we oppose this offer. We, the citizens of New Mexico, want a better deal. We will not accept the liability of 13 million potential deaths. These people deserve a better deal.

We ask, therefore, that you and Governor Gary Johnson request more time, 30 days at a minimum, so the public health community, legal experts, public and media may have a reasonable opportunity to review and study the terms of this proposal.

The CCAA also provides comprehensive information about the proposed settlement, including comments from various health organizations and policy advocates.