Feb. 15 2007
Washington, DC — The bipartisan legislation introduced today to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco products presents the new Congress with a truly historic opportunity to protect our children, improve the nation’s health and save countless lives. There are few steps Congress can take that would make a bigger difference for our nation’s health. It is truly inexcusable that the most deadly product sold in America today is one of the least regulated products sold in America. By passing this legislation this year, the new Congress can end the special protection the tobacco industry has enjoyed for far too long and at such terrible cost in health, lives and money.
Along with our many public health, faith and other partners that have endorsed this legislation, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy and John Cornyn and U.S. Representatives Henry Waxman and Tom Davis for their leadership in introducing this bipartisan legislation. The large number of original co-sponsors in both houses of Congress and from both parties underscores the strong, bipartisan support for this legislation.
Throughout the coming debate, we should never forget what this legislation is all about: Reducing tobacco’s devastating toll on our families. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It kills more than 400,000 Americans and costs the nation more than $96 billion in health care bills every year. Tobacco use kills more of our citizens annually than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides and fires combined. Every day, another 1,200 Americans die from tobacco use and more than 1,000 kids become regular smokers. This deadly toll will continue to mount so long as the tobacco industry remains unregulated and free to engage in marketing that appeals to children, to deceive consumers and to resist even the most minimal steps to make their products less harmful.
Congress has debated the issue of FDA authority over tobacco for nearly a decade. It is time to finish the debate and take action to protect children and save lives.