American Lung Association Applauds Subcommittee on Health for its Strong Commitment to Public Health
Life Saving Legislation Is Now Ready for Action in the Full Committee
Statement of Bernadette A. Toomey, President and CEO
Washington, DC (March 2008) - Today’s passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health is truly historic. H.R. 1108 will give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority it needs to regulate the products responsible for more than 438,000 deaths each year.
Each day, more than 1,100 kids become regular, daily smokers. The tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year marketing their deadly products to kids and have begun selling candy-flavored cigarettes to lure even more children to start smoking. While virtually every other consumer product is regulated, tobacco products are exempt from the most basic oversight. Tobacco companies are not required to test additives for safety, prevent misleading or inaccurate health claims, inform consumers what is in their products, or take any other action to make their products less harmful or addictive.
The American Lung Association remains strongly opposed to any provision that allows tobacco companies to give away their deadly products in any venue. Although the companies claim these giveaways are for adults, all too often these products find their way into the hands of children and youth - subjecting them to a life of addiction, disease and premature death. We remain hopeful that the provision allowing free sampling of smokeless products will be removed from the legislation by the end of the process.
The American Lung Association thanks Chairman John Dingell (D-MI), Chairman Frank Pallone (D- NJ) and Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) for their leadership and commitment to this legislation and to protecting public health. We urge the full Energy and Commerce take this legislation up as soon as possible so that it can continue to move forward and become law this year.
Congress must not squander this historic opportunity.
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