Bill Seeks to Boost Tobacco Warnings, Curb Advertising

Associated Press

Cigarette packages would warn that smoking "can kill you" and tobacco advertising would be banned in movies, stadiums and other places where young people gather under a bill introduced in the House with Clinton Administration support.

"We must use every means to protect our children," Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the surgeon general, said at a news conference Tuesday.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and four other House Democrats, would give the Health and Human Services Department the authority to revise the language of health warnings.

Under the bill:

* Makers would have to rotate warnings saying that cigarettes can kill, cause lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease, harm the babies of pregnant women, be harmful to child development and cause cancer in nonsmokers.

* Users of chewing tobacco would have to be told that the product can cause mouth cancer.

* The distribution of free samples would be banned, as would advertising in sports stadiums, movies, music videos, video arcade games or any place within 2,000 feet of schools.

* Cigarette vending machines would be allowed only in places inaccessible to children.

* Tobacco sponsorship of events such as the Virginia Slims tennis tournament would be prohibited unless the sponsor hands out health information about the effects of tobacco.

* Health warnings also would be required on T-shirts or hats that display tobacco product brand trademarks and on sports equipment such as race cars that display such trademarks.

Thomas Lauria, a spokesman for the Tobacco Institute, said a similar bill introduced by Waxman in 1990 failed to pass, and "we think this will meet the same fate."

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