Clinton says U.S. will try to cut global smoking
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will discourage teen smoking worldwide and publicize the dangers of tobacco consumption, President Clinton said in an executive order Thursday, two days before leaving office.
An anti-smoking advocate criticized the order as "too little and too late" when Clinton could have taken stronger and more direct steps like issuing a U.S. rule against smoking in the workplace.
Clinton's order said the federal government would not promote the sale or export of tobacco or tobacco exports, would not lobby nations to relax anti-tobacco restrictions and provide an assessment of tobacco-caused disease in another country by the end of this year.
"International activities shall be directed towards deterring children from tobacco use, protecting nonsmokers and providing information about the adverse health effects of tobacco use and the health benefits of cessation," the order said.
John Banzhaf, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health, said the order "seems mostly scatter-shot stuff" that could be overturned easily. Clinton missed an opportunity to advance a proposed world agreement toward fundamental tobacco rules, he said.
ASH has urged Clinton to sign a federal rule against workplace smoking. Banzhaf said other useful steps would be cracking down on imports or on sales of single cigarettes.
The United States is one of the major tobacco exporters of the world. Cigarette exports last year, worth an estimated $3.2 billion, were down slightly from 1999. Exports of bulk smoking tobacco and unmanufactured tobacco, forecast at 251,000 metric tons worth $1.76 billion, also were down, from $1.84 billion.