WASHINGTON - September 21 - Today, the U.S. Department of Justice faces off against Big Tobacco in the long-awaited federal trial that could fundamentally change the business of the tobacco industry. In a show of support for the lawsuit, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has launched www.DontPardonBigTobacco.org, an online campaign calling on President Bush to make sure the American people get their day in court and the tobacco industry doesnt buy a sweetheart deal with its millions in campaign contributions.
According to William V. Corr, Executive Director of the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids, The Justice Departments lawsuit against Big Tobacco is a landmark case that holds great potential for improving health in our country. Tobacco companies have donated millions of dollars to politicians with the hope that they will get off with a slap on the wrist. In fact, over the last five years, the lawsuit has been threatened by inadequate funding and settlement talks. Our activists have fought hard to get this case to trial.
In fact, over the past four years, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has recruited 190,000 activists who have sent letters to President Bush. And today, the www.DontPardonBigTobacco.org campaign will reach out to millions of activists via online promotion and grassroots organizing.
Filed in September 1999, the federal governments lawsuit seeks to hold the tobacco industry legally accountable for decades of illegal and harmful practices, including marketing to children and concealing the health risks and addictiveness of its products. In its filings in the case, the Justice Department has indicated that it will seek fundamental changes in the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products; the recovery of $280 billion in illegal tobacco industry profits; and funding for tobacco prevention, cessation and research programs.
By logging on to www.DontPardonBigTobacco.org, activists can send a free message to President Bush asking him to see the lawsuit through.
In 2001, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids helped prevent a weak settlement of this case. The www.DontPardonBigTobacco.org campaign is now making a final push for the public health community and tobacco-control advocates to get involved and make sure Big Tobacco doesnt get off with a sweetheart settlement.