Lung Association Supports HHS’s Tobacco Prevention Plan

Washington, D.C. (November 12, 2010)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced its strategic plan for new nationwide tobacco prevention efforts.  The American Lung Association enthusiastically supports the Administration’s proposal and its commitment to reducing the nation’s tobacco use rates. 

The plan includes major tobacco control activities for which the American Lung Association has long advocated.  These initiatives include expanding comprehensive cessation programs and services, increasing surveillance of tobacco use and progress of tobacco control efforts, encouraging states to implement comprehensive smokefree laws, promote reductions in youth exposure to onscreen smoking, and supporting the Department of Defense in its efforts to combat tobacco use among military and veteran populations.  

The HHS plan also includes actions to reduce tobacco-related disparities through interventions among high-risk populations.  This past year, the Lung Association issued a report, “Smoking Out a Deadly Threat: Tobacco Use in the LGBT Community” examining the trend of higher tobacco use among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.  The report addressed the need for additional research specific to this community and tobacco use and prevention and cessation programs that are culturally competent and inclusive of the LGBT community. 

One challenge to the implementation of this tobacco control strategy will be the availability of funds.  The Lung Association and our partners have already stopped one attempted raid on the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created through the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act earlier this year.  The Lung Association remains committed to protecting this fund, which will be critical to maintaining the investment in tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

The Federal Drug and Administration also announced a new draft proposal to require graphic cigarette labels and advertisement warnings.  The Lung Association issued a separate statement in support of the proposed rule.

Over the next two months, the Lung Association will be submitting comments to the FDA about the proposed warning labels to ensure that they are strong and effective at preventing kids from starting to use cigarettes and encouraging current smokers to quit.  If you would like to join our fight, please join us by visiting www.Lungaction.org.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, responsible for more than 440,000 premature deaths each year.  Helping more Americans quit smoking remains a top public health priority for the American Lung Association.  The Lung Association released its third annual report, "Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage 2010,"which provides an overview of cessation services and treatments offered in each state by public and private health care plans and the impact of the federal health care law.

For assistance with quitting smoking or for additional questions about lung health, please call the American Lung Associations Lung HelpLine at 1-800-548-8252.