As Acting FDA Commissioner, Dr. Ned Sharpless Should Move Forward with Bold Action to Drive Down Smoking and Reverse Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids congratulates Dr. Ned Sharpless, the director of the National Cancer Institute, on his appointment as acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Over the last two years, the FDA has announced its commitment to a series of actions that have the potential to dramatically reduce tobacco use and the number of Americans who are sickened and killed by tobacco. What happens over the next two years will be critical. We urge Dr. Sharpless to continue to pursue the comprehensive plan announced by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, rapidly implement the FDA’s bold proposals to further drive down smoking and strengthen the agency’s efforts to combat the youth e-cigarette epidemic.

These include the FDA’s groundbreaking proposals to limit nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive or minimally addictive levels and ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, products that play key roles in youth tobacco use. The FDA should also strengthen proposals to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic, including prohibiting all flavored e-cigarettes that have not been subject to public health review by the agency.

As a leading oncologist, Dr. Sharpless knows that smoking causes nearly a third of all cancer deaths in the U.S. and declines in smoking have been the top factor in reducing U.S. cancer deaths by 27 percent since 1991. There is no single action the FDA could take that would make a bigger difference in further reducing cancer deaths – and improving the overall health of the nation – than fighting tobacco use and preventing the youth e-cigarette epidemic from reversing the enormous progress we’ve made.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids looks forward to working with Dr. Sharpless to fight the nation’s No. 1 cause of preventable death.