Dec. 13 2004
Washington, DC — The nomination of current EPA Administrator and former Governor Michael Leavitt to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services provides a critical opportunity for the Bush Administration to address the continuing toll tobacco takes. Everyday 1200 Americans die from a tobacco-caused disease and 2,000 kids get hooked on tobacco. Now is the time for strong leadership on tobacco. As a former board member of the American Legacy Foundation, America’s largest tobacco prevention and cessation organization, Michael Leavitt is familiar with the devastating toll tobacco takes on our country and the need for aggressive action to prevent young people from starting to smoke. As Secretary, his commitment to reducing tobacco’s toll can make a major difference on important issues such as public education; the adoption of the recommendations of the HHS Task Force on Tobacco Cessation; Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco; and the expansion of coverage for tobacco cessation. We are hopeful that once confirmed, Secretary-designate Leavitt will work with the public health community to address the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Our children’s lives are at stake.