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Protect our teens

Paul Fletcher
Thursday July 04, 2002

To the Editor: 

Local control of tobacco sales to youths is threatened by AB 1666, which is on the governor's desk for signature. If this becomes law it will be a disaster to the already beleaguered tobacco control programs of Berkeley as well as every county in California. At a time when budgets are being cut in half, programs are being eliminated and staff is being laid off, the fight against big tobacco can ill-afford yet another assault on what is left in the arsenals of county tobacco programs. 

Tobacco lobbyists claim AB 1666 is designed to “monitor retail tobacco sales and to insure compliance with tobacco tax and control laws." But the legislation actually has the potential to preempt all local youth access tobacco laws as well as the enforcement of existing local tobacco retail license laws.  

This is the latest attempt by the tobacco industry and their allies in the Legislature to undermine the remarkable success of California’s highly effective tobacco prevention program. 

Anyone interested in protecting teens and others from big tobacco's youth-targeted marketing campaigns should phone or fax the governor immediately. We must not stand by and allow AB 1666 to protect the cynical multi-billion dollar tobacco interests, devastate public health programs and escalate long-term state and local health care expenditures even more. 




Paul Fletcher