American Lung Association Applauds Introduction of Legislation That Would Give Food and Drug Administration Authority over Tobacco Products

It’s Time to End the Special Protection for Big Tobacco

(February 15, 2007)

Statement of John Kirkwood
President and CEO
American Lung Association

Washington, DC  (February 15, 2007) – The American Lung Association commends Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) for the introduction of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, strong, bi-partisan legislation that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products.  Once enacted into law, this measure will end the special protection enjoyed by the tobacco companies for decades and seriously reduce the devastating impact of tobacco use in the United States. 

Tobacco-related diseases are the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 438,000 deaths each year.  Each day, more than 1,140 kids become regular smokers – and one-third of them will ultimately die from their habit.  The tobacco companies spend more than $15.15 billion a year marketing their deadly products – preying on our children, who make up the “replacement generation” of smokers. 

In August 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler correctly concluded that tobacco companies have engaged in a long-term, fraudulent scheme to mislead the American people about the health risks of smoking, the addictiveness of their products, and their tactics for marketing their products to children.  In her decision, Judge Kessler wrote that the tobacco companies have “marketed and sold their lethal products with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted.”  Unless this important legislation becomes law, the tobacco companies will continue to aggressively market their products to children and lie about the health consequences of smoking. 

The American Lung Association is committed to working with Congress to ensure that the legislation becomes law in 2007.

About the American Lung Association
Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time." For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to
www.lung.org.