House of Representatives Begins Historic Consideration of Legislation to End Special Protections for Big Tobacco and Protect Public Health

FDA Authority over Tobacco Would Save Lives

Washington, DC (October 3, 2007)

Statement of Bernadette A. Toomey, President and CEO, American Lung Association

Today, the Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce begins historic consideration of HR 1108, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  We commend Health Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Energy, Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-MI), and lead sponsors Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Tom Davis (R-VA) for their leadership on this issue of national importance.

By giving regulatory authority over tobacco products to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this bill will fundamentally change public health in the United States.  The tobacco companies will no longer be able to aggressively market to children with candy-flavored cigarettes called Twista Lime and Liquid Zoo.  The legislation will also end the days where tobacco companies can claim a product is safe without accompanying scientific proof.

Now is the time for the Congress to pass this critical legislation and FDA is the right agency for this responsibility.  Earlier this summer, the Institute of Medicine released a historic report.  The report, Ending the Tobacco Problem—A Blueprint for the Nation, strongly recommended that Congress enact legislation granting FDA broad regulatory authority over the manufacture, distribution, marketing and use of tobacco products.  The President’s Cancer Panel – three distinguished experts selected by President Bush – made the same conclusion in their report, Promoting Healthy Lifestyles:  Policy, Program, and Personal Recommendations for Reducing Cancer Risk.  This report urged “the leadership of this nation to summon the political will” to address the public health crisis caused by tobacco use.

HR 1108 meets the high standards set forth in the Institute of Medicine report as well as those long established by the public health community for a strong FDA tobacco regulation bill that protects the public health.  With over 1,000 kids each day becoming regular smokers, the American Lung Association urges the subcommittee and the full committee to quickly send this legislation to the floor for full consideration by the House of Representatives.

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.