Dichotomy Between U.S. Tobacco Export Policy and Antismoking Initiatives

T-NSIAD-90-42: Published: May 17, 1990. Publicly Released: May 17, 1990.

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GAO discussed the U.S. government's role in helping the export of tobacco and tobacco products and the health-related implications of those activities. GAO found that: (1) the United States has a growing trade surplus in tobacco and tobacco products; (2) U.S. trade officials said that tobacco was legally sold in the United States and abroad and should be treated no differently than other products; (3) the U.S. trade representative did not appear to give preferential treatment to tobacco products over other items; (4) despite some difficulties in removing foreign barriers to U.S tobacco exports, there seemed to be no long-term adverse implications for U.S relations with four targeted countries; (5) the U.S. Surgeon General has determined that smoking is hazardous to health, and the U.S government actively works to discourage smoking, both domestically and internationally; (6) the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the lead role in the U.S. government's smoking and health efforts; (7) the U.S. government supports international organizations' smoking prevention programs; (8) despite the government's anti-smoking efforts, health issues were not considered during negotiations for the removal of foreign trade barriers to U.S. tobacco exports; (9) HHS has been discouraged from activities that link health issues with U.S. tobacco exports; and (10) HHS perceives tobacco export issues as a trade matter.

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