CCAA RELEASE TO THE HONORABLE TOM UDALL
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.