Despite a multimillion-dollar media campaign designed and produced by the tobacco industry to mislead the American public, citizens nationwide are voicing their disapproval of this industry's long history of deception and unethical practices. Results from a recent survey conducted in Utah indicate that Utahns mirror this national sentiment and that they are no longer willing to allow the tobacco industry freedom to continue its irresponsible ways.

Survey results indicate that 73 percent of Utahns feel that the government should regulate tobacco. Utahns understand that tobacco regulation will not lead to more bureaucracy, as the tobacco industry claims. Regulation of tobacco would rather provide a means of controlling an industry that for too long has been free to market its products to children, lie about tobacco's negative health effects and withhold information about tobacco's addictive properties.This statewide survey of Utahns indicates that the public feels the tobacco industry should be penalized for marketing to, and profiting from, children and adolescents. If fact, 86 percent think that penalties for teen smoking should be equal to or greater than the profits made from teen smoking. In other words, the tobacco industry should not benefit from teen smoking. The tobacco industry should be financially deterred from marketing to our children.

Utah's representatives in Congress owe it to their constituents to look at these survey results. They owe it to their constituents to vote for comprehensive and meaningful tobacco legislation that truly penalizes the tobacco industry. Our representatives in Congress are duty-bound to approach this historic opportunity at tobacco control with the health and well-being of their constituents as their primary concern.

Erik Crankshaw

Chairman, American Cancer Society Tobacco

Control Team, Salt Lake City