U.S. House of Representatives Again Votes with a Strong Bipartisan Majority in Favor of Granting the U.S. FDA Regulatory Control Over Tobacco Products

American Lung Association Urges Senate to Quickly Pass this Important Lifesaving Legislation

(April 2, 2009)

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

Today in Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor with a strong bipartisan majority for the second time since last July to pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (HR 1256). The American Lung Association along with its public health partners including the American Heart Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network have been working together to urge the passage of this important bill that would provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory control over tobacco products.

We stand together with our public health allies in urging the U.S. Senate to make swift passage of this bill a top priority. With 442,000 tobacco related deaths plaguing our country each year, swift passage of this urgently needed legislation will save countless lives, not to mention the $193 billion spent annually on tobacco related health care costs and in lost productivity.

At the core, passage of this bill would allow the FDA to stop tobacco companies from advertising to children, making misleading health claims about their deadly products and from manipulating their products to make them increasingly more addictive.

 Last July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation by an overwhelming vote. Despite having 60 sponsors in the last Congress, the Senate ran out of time to consider the legislation. That cannot be allowed to happen again. Each day, lives are literally being lost as we wait for the Congress to act.

We thank Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), Chairman Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI), Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) for their tireless leadership. 
We would be remiss if we also did not extend our gratitude to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) for their dedication to the passage of this legislation.

Now is the time for the U.S. Senate to consider this legislation.