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NEW OPINION POLL SHOWS PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR CRACKDOWN ON TOBACCO SALES TO CHILDREN

 NEW OPINION POLL SHOWS PUBLIC SUPPORT
 FOR CRACKDOWN ON TOBACCO SALES TO CHILDREN
 LANSING, Mich., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Seventy-three percent of Michigan voters support banning the sale of tobacco products through vending machines and 66 percent support prohibiting tobacco companies from giving away free samples, according to an American Lung Association/American Cancer Society-sponsored survey released today.
 Larry A. McAllister, chief executive officer of the American Lung Association of Michigan, in his opening remarks at a news conference held in the Capitol Building this morning, called on legislators to "take a stand now to stop the flow of tobacco products to the hands of our children." Citing the strong public support for measures which would help to protect the health of minors, McAllister called for support of bills to ban free distribution of tobacco samples and also to restrict access to vending machines. "The state of Michigan must now enforce the laws it has on the books. We must also pass stricter laws prohibiting access -- or we will pay for our indifference with lives, and also with the loss of federal dollars."
 In explaining the loss of federal dollars if enforcement is not stepped up, Ron Davis, M.D., chief medical officer of Michigan's Public Health Department, noted, "With new federal regulations, we now risk losing between 10 and 40 percent of Michigan's nearly $54 million of federal drug education money if we do not have laws in place that effectively prohibit the sale and distribution of tobacco products to those under the age of 18. We must confront the fact that current tobacco control laws are simply not working."
 Federal drug education funding is threatened as a result of the "Synar Amendment," a recent amendment to the Federal Alcohol Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA) block grant which requires states to pass laws that prevent minors from purchasing tobacco products.
 Further results of the Lung Association/Cancer Society survey indicate that 63 percent of Michigan voters would favor licensing tobacco retailers just as is currently required of those who sell alcohol.
 "Each day, more than 3,000 American teenagers start smoking, and we know that the addictive qualities of tobacco, not unlike those of heroin and cocaine, will keep many of these youngsters 'hooked' for decades," noted Kathy Johnson, spokesperson for the American Cancer Society's Michigan Division, Inc.
 Ninety percent of today's smokers began their addiction as children and adolescents and three bills awaiting Senate action are designed to help stop the flow of tobacco products to minors. Rep. Mary Brown (D-Kalamazoo) is sponsoring a bill that will limit tobacco vending machines to places where children cannot gain access. Rep. Jessie Dalman (R-Holland) is sponsoring a bill that will prohibit the free distribution of tobacco products through the mail and Rep. Michael Bennane (D-Detroit) has put forward a bill that will prohibit the sale of single cigarettes. Sen. John Pridnia (R-Oscoda), chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee, is spearheading the passage of these bills through the Senate.
 Other survey results today showed overwhelming public support for establishing smoke-free environments. According to Albert Sparrow, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist and chair of the Michigan Coalition on Smoking OR Health, "Ninety percent of the public supports a ban on smoking in all K-12 schools, which really shows that the public has come a long way in understanding the health hazards related to being exposed to secondhand smoke." Eighty-one percent of those surveyed felt that private businesses should be required, at a minimum, to separate smokers from non-smokers at the worksite.
 -0- 9/15/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Ellen Mumy, 313-559-5100, or Jim Moore, 517-484-4541, both of American Lung Association of Michigan/ CO: American Lung Association; American Cancer Society;
 Michigan Department of Public Health ST: Michigan IN: HEA SU:


ML -- DE001 -- 9471 09/15/92 08:59 EDT
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Date:Sep 15, 1992
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