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LUNG ASSOCIATION PRAISES ENGLER INITIATIVE

 LUNG ASSOCIATION PRAISES ENGLER INITIATIVE
 /ADVANCE/LANSING, Mich., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Michigan Gov. John


Engler's aggressive program to reduce smoking will stop hundreds of needless deaths every year, said Robert G. Smith, executive director of the American Lung Association of Michigan (ALAM).
 "The state Department of Public Health estimates that there are more than 15,000 preventable deaths every year linked to nicotine addiction," said Smith. "Gov. Engler's endorsement of most of our comprehensive stop-smoking agenda will prevent many of those tragic deaths."
 According to MDPH statistics, smoking-related deaths far outnumber combined total of deaths attributable to alcoholism, illegal drug use, homicide, suicide, traffic accidents and AIDS.
 In his address on health care in Detroit, the governor endorsed most elements of the ALAM's state legislative agenda:
 -- Designating all public schools as 'smoke-free.'
 -- Prohibiting the sales of nicotine products through vending machines.
 -- Prohibiting distribution of free samples of nicotine products.
 -- Prohibiting the breaking up of cigarette packs for retail sales.
 -- Expanding minimum non-smoking areas in restaurants to 50 percent.
 "The governor went beyond our agenda in some areas. He is calling for the right of college students to establish smoke-free student housing, requiring cigarettes sold by the pack be placed behind the counter, and increases in fines for illegal sales of tobacco products to minors. Naturally, we totally support his position on these issues."
 The governor also issued an Executive Order making all state buildings smoke-free.
 "ALAM has been working with individual state agencies on smoke-free workplaces," noted Smith. "We will continue to offer our services to state workers to help them quit smoking and adjust to their new clean- air work environment.
 The two ALAM-backed proposals not endorsed by Gov. Engler are a 25-cent-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax (which also applies the tax to other tobacco products), and establishing state licensing of retailers selling cigarettes (similar to state licensing of liquor retailers). The governor took no position on the cigarette tax.
 "We will continue to work for these proposals while working for the measures supported by the governor. We are delighted with his overall stance on tobacco issues and commend him for taking major steps toward improved health for the people of Michigan."
 -0- 3/11/92/1200
 /NOTE: Smith will be available for comment at Hutzel Hospital, 4707 St. Antoine, Detroit, following the governor's remarks today.
 CONTACT: Robert G. Smith of the American Lung Association of Michigan, 517-484-4451/ CO: American Lung Association of Michigan; Office of Michigan Governor
 John Engler ST: Michigan IN: HEA SU:


KK -- DE000 -- 7182 03/11/92 08:57 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1992
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