Toasting Tobacco

"It's time to get the country looking at the alcohol industry in exactly the same way we're looking at tobacco," says Sandy Golden, president of the Tampa, Florida-based Campaign for Alcohol-Free Kids. "We're 10 to 15 years behind the tobacco people, and we want to close that gap in the next year or two."

Golden, who was the first executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says, "The alcohol industry is far worse than the tobacco industry, if you look at the number of years of life lost." Golden's group plans a multifront war on booze:

n In hopes of encouraging states to sue alcohol companies, Golden is "teaching" groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance Movement to write letters to state attorneys general. "The goal of the letters is to determine whether it is possible to sue big alcohol the same way as big tobacco," he says. "If one attorney general launches a lawsuit, there will be a domino effect. They will all do it."

n Golden is pushing for a presidential commission to "address the issue of underage drinking." He says a commission to study and propose new regulations on alcohol advertising is "just a matter of time."

n Golden has filed a formal petition with the Federal Communications Commission, calling for a rule that would let parents screen out alcohol ads from their television sets with V-chip technology.

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