Excerpts of Remarks on Nickelodeon's "Clearing the Air: Kids Talk to the President About Smoking"
Linda Ellerbee. How can a kid ask a grownup to stop smoking?
The President. Oh, I think directly. I think children should not be self-conscious about that. I can tell you, you know, Chelsea did some very blunt things to her grandmother. She said, "You ever seen a picture of a lung where people have smoked for years, as against the picture of a lung where people haven't?" I mean, very straightforward stuff.
Ms. Ellerbee. Did it work?
The President. It worked. It took a few years, but it worked finally. On my daughter's 8th birthday, her grandmother's present was that she quit smoking.
Ms. Ellerbee. Mr. President, do you have any final thoughts for kids on this issue?
The President. You young people cannot believe the potential influence you can have. You can ask adults the kind of hard questions you asked me. You can encourage every adult you care about and love to stop smoking. You can make it so that the cool thing to do is not to smoke instead of to smoke.
And you know, none of us are going to live forever, but you have the choice to maximize, to increase the chances of your living a long and full life. This is a choice you can make. The smoking choice is a choice you can make. It's totally within your control.
And I just want to encourage you. I'll do what I can, but I want to encourage you to do everything you can to get everybody you know to remain smoke free. I think that is— that's the answer. And you can do it. We can change this country if we do it together.
NOTE: The President's remarks were recorded at 12:10 p.m. on December 12, 1995, for broadcast at 8 p.m. on January 9. Linda Ellerbee hosted Nickelodeon cable television's "Nick News" program.
William J. Clinton, Excerpts of Remarks on Nickelodeon's "Clearing the Air: Kids Talk to the President About Smoking" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/222745