Big tobacco's deadly influence

Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2002

As election day approaches, our future elected officials are staking out their stand on issues that will be important to us all. One issue that I'm concerned about is protecting kids from big tobacco.

The tobacco industry is spending a record $26 million daily to market their deadly products. It's no wonder more than 2,000 kids become addicted every day. One in three will die prematurely as a result.

In spite of this, tobacco companies remain virtually unregulated. Why? Because big tobacco means big money. It also means hundreds of thousands of addicted children and early deaths. Tobacco interests have given more than $22 million in political donations since 1997. No wonder Big Tobacco has so much influence with our elected officials.

We know what works to protect kids from tobacco. States that have adequately funded prevention programs or raised the cigarette tax have dramatically reduced smoking, especially among kids. In the states that have funded comprehensive prevention programs, the teen smoking rate has dropped by as much as 30 percent! Now we need the political will to enact these policies.

I recently sent an e-mail to political leaders at urging them to stand up for kids, not big tobacco. I hope that many other people join me to let our leaders know that we put kids before profits!

Rayda L. Renshaw


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