Dec. 16 2015
WASHINGTON, DC – The budget agreement reached by congressional negotiators delivers critical victories for America’s kids and health over the tobacco industry by rejecting proposals to greatly weaken FDA oversight of electronic cigarettes and cigars and slash funding for the CDC’s programs to reduce tobacco use. By rejecting these special interest giveaways to the tobacco industry, this agreement bolsters the nation’s fight against tobacco use, the number one cause of preventable death.
The budget agreement does not include a provision, approved by the House Appropriations Committee, to limit FDA oversight of e-cigarettes and cigars already on the market, including many candy- and fruit-flavored products that have been introduced in recent years and proven popular with kids. The agreement preserves the FDA’s ability to review these products and take action to protect our kids.
Now the White House must quickly issue the long-overdue rule extending the FDA’s jurisdiction to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars. As the new Monitoring the Future survey confirmed today, youth e-cigarette use has skyrocketed and now exceeds use of regular cigarettes, and teens are using flavored little cigars at the same rate as cigarettes. We cannot afford more delays that allow tobacco companies to continue targeting kids with a new generation of products.
The budget agreement also provides $210 million for the CDC’s programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, rejecting a House Appropriations proposal that slashed funding to just $105.5 million (Senate appropriators had provided $216.5 million). The CDC will be able to continue initiatives such as the Tips from Former Smokers media campaign that has proven so successful and cost-effective at helping smokers quit, as well as its assistance to state tobacco prevention programs and state quitlines that help smokers trying to quit.
While the U.S. has greatly reduced smoking, tobacco use still kills nearly half a million Americans and costs us $170 billion in health care expenses each year. It is great news for the nation’s health that the budget agreement rejects tobacco industry efforts to undo this progress.