I am a little surprised and disappointed at the lack of support shown by Utahns for President Clinton's attempts to rein in the tobacco industry and marketing campaigns aimed at children. The rise in smoking among teenagers is a clear threat to the physical health of our nation. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Rep. Henry Waxman and other Democrats have been working for over two years to find ways of regulating nicotine, which is a highly addictive and physically destructive drug.
I am concerned that the Republican takeover of Congress has resulted in an unholy alliance between Congress and the tobacco industry. Newt Gingrich, long a protector of tobacco subsidies, has a history of lining up and filling the election coffers of other Republicans with tobacco money.Tobacco money contributed substantially to the Republican takeover of Congress, and the political debts many representatives and senators have to the tobacco industry could derail Democratic attempts to appropriately regulate tobacco.
Since none of Utah's congressional representatives have such debts, I am hopeful that President Clinton can count on the support of the Utah delegation. Failure to support the president would certainly cause me to wonder if tobacco money did, in fact, influence our representatives.
President Clinton should be praised for joining the battle against tobacco, and it is high time that Utah's congressional representatives join President Clinton in a bipartisan effort to suppress demand for this health hazard.
David L. Swan
Salt Lake City