U.S. House of Representatives Sends Bill Granting the U.S. FDA Regulatory Control Over Tobacco Products to President Obama for Signature

American Lung Association Celebrates Historic Public Health Victory

(June 12, 2009)

Statement of Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association President and CEO:

Today in Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to adopt the Senate-passed version of HR 1256, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This strong bipartisan vote by the House means this legislation will now be sent to President Obama for his signature. The President has stated publicly that he will sign this bill into law once it reaches his desk, and we ask him to do so quickly.

This is a historic day in our fight against lung disease. The American Lung Association has been advocating for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be given regulatory control over tobacco products for more than two decades. Finally, the end of our hard fought battle is within our reach.

Soon, the tobacco industry will be prevented from marketing to kids and will no longer be allowed to make false and misleading claims about their products. Larger, graphic warning labels, coupled with strong oversight to stop the tobacco companies from manipulating their products by making them increasingly more addictive, will save countless lives for generations to come.

This is a tremendous public health victory. Each year, more than 393,000 Americans die from tobacco-caused illnesses. The passage of today’s legislation gives our nation a healthier future to look forward to. Together with the hard work of the public health community and the leadership of numerous elected officials here in Washington, we have finally begun to lift Big Tobacco’s death grip on our nation’s health.

We wish to commend Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) for their quick action in taking up the Senate-passed version of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (HR 1256).

The Lung Association especially wishes to express its gratitude to Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) for their tireless leadership and dedication to the passage of this legislation.