American Lung Association: S. 772 Gives Sweetheart Deal to Cigar Industry

Statement of the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (April 19, 2013)

S. 772 is a sweetheart deal to a small number of cigar companies, attempting to strip the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its authority to protect our kids and our health from the dangers posed by cigar use. The American Lung Association strongly opposes S. 772 and urges U.S. Senators to oppose this bill.

S. 722 would take away FDA’s authority over certain cigars, including cigars that contain flavors. This would mean FDA could not require warning labels, require these cigars to be put behind the counters away from kids, or tell cigar manufacturers to take out candy-flavors that are appealing to youth smokers.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Cancer Institute, cigars are not safe. Cigar smoking can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and various cancers including lung cancer. Further, cigar smoking is addictive—even if a user doesn’t inhale. This bill undermines a central tenet of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which recognizes all tobacco products are harmful.

Each day, almost 3,000 kids under the age of 18 try cigar smoking for the first time. More than one in six high school boys currently smoke cigars. In some states, the number of kids smoking cigars is equal to or more than those who smoke cigarettes.

Earlier this year, it was reported that cigar makers are adding kitty litter to cigars to increase their weight and avoid taxes. Creating an exemption in the Tobacco Control Act would give this industry – which has a well-established history of manipulating its products to exploit loopholes at the expense of our health – new opportunities to target kids and contribute to the nation’s leading cause of preventable death.

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About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.