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Support Weak For Tobacco Rules

Wed., Aug. 23, 1995, midnight

Most Americans oppose some of President Clinton’s aggressive efforts to shield teenagers from tobacco advertising and promotion, an Associated Press poll found.

Fifty-eight percent reject a proposed ban on tobacco brand names on T-shirts or in sporting events such as auto racing’s Winston Cup or the Virginia Slims Tennis Tournament. And 53 percent oppose allowing only black-and-white text - no color or pictures - on tobacco billboards and in cigarette advertisements in magazines read by many young people.

Clinton ordered those restrictions Aug. 10 with the goal of cutting teenage smoking in half. The tobacco industry immediately challenged him in court.

The poll of 1,007 adults, taken Aug. 16-20, finds relatively weak support for the premise behind the regulations. Only 40 percent agree unequivocally that the tobacco companies actively use advertising and promotion to try to get youngsters to start smoking.

Forty-five percent adhere to the tobacco company argument that ads are mostly aimed at promoting brands to people who already smoke.

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