Mar. 27 2001
Washington, DC — We applaud Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson's important statement today in support of granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco. Secretary Thompson's statement recognizes that rhetoric is not enough and strong action is needed if we are to respond effectively to today's Surgeon General's Report on Women and Tobacco, which documents the tobacco industry's targeting of women and girls with devastating consequences for women's health. The epidemic of smoking-related disease and death in our society must be attacked at every level, including granting the FDA authority over the manufacture, marketing and sale of tobacco products.
Our hope is that Secretary Thompson will support the type of broad, effective FDA authority over tobacco that has been endorsed by the major public health organizations. This approach is embodied in bipartisan legislation that has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) and Bob Graham (D-FL) and in the House by Reps. Greg Ganske (R-IA), John Dingell (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), as well as in the 1998 legislation sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Congress should respond to Secretary Thompson's statement and the Surgeon General's report by quickly approving effective FDA legislation, and President Bush should commit to signing it into law.
Today's Surgeon General's report and other recent reports by the Institute of Medicine and the Federal Trade Commission show that the tobacco industry continues to deceive the public about its products and to market these products in harmful ways. We look forward to working with Secretary Thompson to protect the public health by granting the FDA effective authority over tobacco.