Fact Sheet: President Clinton Establishes Commission to Improve Economic Opportunity in Communities Dependent on Tobacco Production and Protect Public Health (9/22/00)
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|                              PUBLIC HEALTH                              |
|                           September 22, 2000                            |
|                                                                         |

Today, President Clinton is signing an Executive Order establishing the
?President?s Commission on Improving Economic Opportunity in Communities
Dependent on Tobacco Production While Protecting Public Health.?  This
Commission will bring the grower and public health communities together to
explore common ground by developing recommendations to help tobacco farmers
and their communities adjust to changes in the tobacco economy, while
continuing to reduce youth smoking.  Today?s executive action builds on the
Clinton-Gore Administration?s longstanding record of protecting the health
of our nation?s children and holding the tobacco industry accountable,
while protecting tobacco farmers and their communities.

A Commission to Protect Tobacco Farmers and Their Communities and to
Promote  Public Health.  Today, the President is signing an Executive Order
to create a Commission to recommend measures to improve economic
opportunity and development in tobacco-producing communities, while
protecting consumers, particularly children, from hazards associated with
smoking.   The Commission will review a variety of federal, state and local
initiatives, and will submit a preliminary report to the President through
the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services by the end of
the calendar year, with a final report due six months from the Commission?s
first meeting.  This Commission builds on a coalition of growers? groups
and health organizations that came together in 1998 to issue the Core
Principles Statement, which outlines their shared goals, and demonstrates
that the objectives of reducing youth smoking and protecting American
farmers can be pursued together. The President also will announce the two
co-chairs of the Commission:  William Martin "Rod" Kuegel, Jr., of
Owensboro, Kentucky, and Matthew Myers, of Washington, D.C.  Mr. Kuegel is
a fourth-generation tobacco farmer, and President of the Burley Tobacco
Growers Cooperative Association.  Mr. Myers is a nationally known
tobacco-control advocate and President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free

Changing Economies in Tobacco-Growing Communities.  For decades, the
federal tobacco program has stabilized and supported tobacco prices by
limiting supply through production quotas.  The production quotas are based
on a statutory formula that reflects tobacco companies' announced
purchasing intentions, the three-year average of exports, and existing
tobacco stock levels.  However, in the past three years, America?s tobacco
farmers have experienced significant quota cuts, due largely to decisions
by U.S. tobacco companies to shift their manufacturing and growing
operations overseas, with the decline in tobacco use in the United States
contributing to a much lesser extent.  Even as tobacco farmers have seen
revenues fall, the major U.S. cigarette companies have increased their
overall revenues and profits.

Building on the Clinton-Gore Record of Protecting Public Health and
Growers.  President Clinton and Vice-President President Gore have fought
hard not only to reduce youth smoking and hold the tobacco industry
accountable, but also to protect individual tobacco farmers and their
?    Promoting Public Health:  The Administration has greatly increased
support for efforts by states and communities to reduce tobacco use, while
urging the states to do their part by dedicating the money collected from
tobacco settlements to fund anti-smoking programs for our youth.  The
Administration has called on Congress to affirm the Food and Drug
Administration?s authority to put forward comprehensive regulations to
protect our children from the dangers of tobacco.  In 1999, the Department
of Justice sued tobacco manufacturers to hold them accountable for their
actions and to recover the cost of tobacco-related illnesses.
?    Protecting Tobacco Growers and Communities:  In 1997, the President
announced that protection for farmers and farming communities must be
included as one of five key principles in any comprehensive tobacco
legislation.  In 1998, he held a roundtable discussion in Kentucky to
listen to the concerns of farmers and the community regarding tobacco
legislation.  The President has also signed and supported legislation to
compensate tobacco farmers for reductions in their 1999 and 2000 quotas,
and supported the $5 billion settlement between states and industry to
compensate tobacco farmers.

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