Congressional Spending Deal Protects Kids and Boosts Tobacco Prevention Efforts

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 22, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The omnibus appropriations bill now before Congress puts the health of America’s kids ahead of the special interests of the tobacco industry.

The bill leaves out provisions pushed by tobacco companies that would have greatly weakened U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight of e-cigarettes and cigars and completely exempted some cigars from the FDA’s purview. These provisions would have made it easier for tobacco companies to continue selling and introducing candy-flavored products that threaten to addict a new generation of kids.

The legislation also provides $210 million for the CDC’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs, a $5 million increase over last fiscal year and a rejection of a House proposal that slashed funding for these initiatives. The CDC will be able to continue programs such as the Tips from Former Smokers media campaign that has been so cost effective at helping smokers quit, as well as its assistance to state tobacco prevention programs and telephone quitlines that help smokers trying to quit. Since its launch in 2012, the Tips campaign has motivated about five million smokers to try to quit, helped 500,000 smokers to quit successfully and saved at least 50,000 lives, according to the CDC. At a cost of less than $400 for each year of life saved, it is considered a “best buy” in public health. The Tips campaign is a prime example of how smart investments in prevention can reduce disease and save lives.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids thanks the members of Congress who continue to fight to protect our nation’s kids and health from the tobacco industry. Because of their efforts, this bill bolsters the nation’s fight against tobacco use – the No. 1 cause of preventable death.