Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to vote by House Appropriations Committee on tobacco riders:
"The American Lung Association is extremely disappointed the House Appropriations Committee voted with the tobacco companies and against an amendment that would have protected the Tobacco Control Act. Instead, by defeating the amendment, the House voted to weaken the Tobacco Control Act and FDA's ability to protect kids and the public health from tobacco products. The amendment, offered by Ranking Member Nita Lowey, would strike Section 753 that grandfathers in scores of unregulated tobacco products that are currently on the market, including e-cigarettes, little cigars and hookah. Section 753 would significantly undermine the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) authority over these unregulated tobacco products and open the door for candy-flavored products to be marketed to kids for years to come.
"The Lowey amendment would have removed the legislative language that will eliminate FDA's authority to review the health hazards of the thousands of brands of these tobacco products – including child enticing flavors like fruit, cotton candy and gummi bears – from pre-market review. All Americans deserve basic protections from these tobacco products, especially our children.
"The bill also included the 'cigar rider' that would exempt certain cigars from FDA's authority – including cigars that are machine-made and as inexpensive as $1.00. All tobacco products cause death and disease and must be overseen by the FDA. We urge Congress to remove both dangerous tobacco riders on the floor.
"We thank Ranking Member Lowey and the other Members of the Committee who voted in favor of protecting the health of our nation's children. As the American Lung Association and our partners stated in our joint letter to the Committee, this rider has only one purpose: to limit the use of one of FDA's most important tools for protecting kids and public health.
"These dangerous riders were added to this bill for the benefit of tobacco industry and come at a time when e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among kids. These unacceptable provisions show, once again, that too many in Congress are willing to prioritize Big Tobacco over the health of our nation, particularly young people who are at risk to become the next generation of addicted smokers and tobacco users, and whose health will suffer as a result."
For media interested in speaking with an expert about FDA's authority over tobacco products including e-cigarettes, tobacco use and lung health, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.