May. 6 2009
Washington, DC (May 6, 2009) — The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids tonight will present Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) with its highest honor, the Champion Award, for his leadership in the fight to reduce the devastating toll of tobacco use in the United States. For over three decades, Rep. Waxman has led the fight in Congress to expose the tobacco industry’s harmful practices and enact effective tobacco control legislation.
This year, as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Waxman introduced and shepherded HR 1256, the Family Smoking Tobacco Control and Prevention Act, through the House of Representatives. In April, the legislation passed with a bipartisan and historic vote of 298-112. This legislation grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products.
During the 1980s and 1990s, as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and the Environment, Rep. Waxman held hearings that focused public attention on the dangers of tobacco and the harmful practices of the tobacco industry. In a moment widely considered a turning point in the fight against tobacco use, Rep. Waxman’s Committee in 1994 questioned seven tobacco company executives under oath at a hearing during which they claimed nicotine was not addictive. Hearings by the Subcommittee also exposed the secret activities of the tobacco industry, both through the testimony of industry insiders and internal tobacco company documents.
In 1984, Rep. Waxman was the lead sponsor of legislation that strengthened the health warnings on cigarettes, the last time Congress took such action. He was also a leader in the successful effort to ban smokeless tobacco advertising on TV and radio.
“No member of Congress has done more than Chairman Waxman to focus public attention on the dangers of tobacco use, to expose the deception of the tobacco companies and to enact laws that reduce tobacco use and save lives,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Because of his leadership and tenacity, Congress is on the verge of enacting the strongest federal legislation in history to fight tobacco use – the bill to grant the FDA authority over tobacco products. Chairman Waxman is a true champion in the fight to reduce tobacco use and improve the health of all Americans.”
Chairman Waxman will be recognized at the Campaign’s annual awards gala, a gathering of government, public health, civic and business leaders to celebrate a year of tremendous progress in the fight against tobacco. This year’s gala is being held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd Street NW.
The Champion Award honors extraordinary leadership in the fight against tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Previous recipients include U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA); John Seffrin, president of the American Cancer Society; Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire; Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty.
In addition to presenting Chairman Waxman with its Champion Award, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will also honor its Youth Advocates of the Year, young leaders in the fight to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The recipient of the 2009 National Youth Advocate of the Year award is Emily Kile, of Greenfield, Indiana.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, claiming 400,000 lives each year and costing the nation $96 billion annually in health care bills.
For more information on the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, please visit www.tobaccofreekids.org