The many volunteers of our organization throughout the country are distressed over reports in the press indicating a reversal
of the Administration's position on the Comprehensive Smoking Prevention Education bill.
Less than a week after House hearings in which Secretary Brandt and Surgeon General Koop gave their unqualified support to
this legislation, it was reported that the Administration changed its position at the Senate hearings. The American Lung
Association is upset at this lack of attention to a public health problem which claims 340,000 lives annually. We are concerned
that the symbolism of the Administration's commitment to prevention of disease is at stake.
It appears to us that the country is moving more and more toward accepting
strong national leadership in the anti-smoking campaign. It is very disturbing to witness a reluctance on the part of our
national leaders to grasp this opportunity at a time when the evidence indicting cigarette smoking as a major cause of disease
and death has become so overwhelming.
Emphysema, one of the diseases affecting the patient population with which our organization is closely concerned, is an irreversible
condition which condemns the patient to a frightening existence where he battles for every breath. It has been said that if
every smoker spent an hour with a patient in the terminal throes of emphysema, most would quickly become ex-smokers.
Emphysema has risen to become the fifth cause of death in the U.S. The recent Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and
Cancer estimates that 30 percent of all cancer deaths are caused by smoking. In the face of such staggering statistics, how
can the Administration turn away from its responsibilities to help educate the American people about the dangers of this insidious
The major voluntary health agencies have recently banded together in a Coalition on Smoking OR Health in order to be more
effective in anti-smoking education, yet the role of the federal government is critical to success. It is especially hard
to understand the government's stance when for a modest expenditure of funds millions of dollars can be saved on medical
care costs and disability payments.