SMOKING AND THE ’96 ELECTION: CLINTON AD BLASTS DOLE
In an attempt to portray President Clinton as "kid-This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
friendly," the Clinton/Gore reelection campaign released a
television ad Monday "accusing rival Bob Dole of blowing smoke
when it comes to kiddies lighting up," NEW YORK POST reports
(Rauber, 7/9). The ad begins with a scene of several teens
lighting cigarettes. An announcer says, "These children are
trying smoking for the first time. One will die from the habit.
President Clinton says stop ads that teach our children to smoke.
But Bob Dole opposes a FDA limit on tobacco ads that appeal to
children; says cigarettes aren't necessarily addictive; some say
milk is bad for kids too, Dole says. But three thousand children
start smoking everyday. One thousand will die from it -- one of
three. Bob Dole or President Clinton -- Who's really protecting
our children?" (Clinton/Gore '96 release, 7/8).
FACT CHECK: The Republican National Committee (RNC) refuted
the ad, stating, "A look at the record clearly shows that Bob
Dole has been protecting children since 1970 when he voted to ban
cigarette advertising on TV and radio, and again in 1992 when he
voted to ensure that states enact laws prohibiting the sale or
distribution of tobacco products to teenagers." The RNC also
notes that the Clinton administration did not implement the 1992
law, also known as the Synar amendment (see AHL 1/19/96) until
January of this year (RNC release, 7/9). According to the POST,
the Clinton/Gore ad states that Dole opposes FDA regulation of
tobacco, but fails to mention his support for state regulation.
Dole spokesperson Nelson Warfield said in response to the ad,
"For Bill Clinton, distortion is habit-forming" (7/9).
SMOKING CAMPAIGN MONEY: An editorial in USA TODAY looks at
the influence of the tobacco industry on national politics: "One
fact is clear: Tobacco money is one of the fastest-growing
sources of campaign dollars. Even though 1995 was not an
election year, big tobacco contributed a record $4.1 million in
political action committee money." The editorial concludes, "The
same outspoken public concern that forced limits on second-hand
smoke is needed to curb the poisonous effects of special-interest
money in politics." In the "Opposing View" column, California
economist Patrick Cox writes, "The tobacco industry would be
insane to withdraw from the political process and hand its fate
over to politicians and bureaucrats pandering to the health
Nazis. ... In truth, our liberty is not embodied in fat-free
foods, low-impact aerobics and political rhetoric. Freedom is
about making adult choices that sometimes don't translate into
the longest, most uneventful life possible" (7/10).