It’s been ten years since the FDA was given the mandate from Congress to fully regulate the tobacco industry and tasked with the critical responsibility of protecting the health of our nation. And still, the FDA has not fulfilled its mission to reduce the deadly toll of tobacco use.
A Great Day to Quit Tobacco
It's the American Cancer Society's 40th Annual Great American Smokeout an annual opportunity to join others across the country in a dedicated day to make a plan to quit tobacco. This year, the Society is encouraging tobacco users to, Quit like a champion. At ACS CAN, we're honoring the spirit of the day by urging Congress and the Obama administration to support tobacco users in their quitting quest, by championing legislation and policies that are proven to help people stop smoking and prevent a next generation from getting started on the path to addiction. A proposal in Congress would cut funding to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office of Smoking and Health in half. This department is doing important work year round, conducting national tobacco control efforts that are increasing quit attempts across the country. The Tips from Former Smokers campaign resulted in an estimated 1.6 million smokers making a quit attempt and more than 100,000 of them quitting for good. Cutting anti-tobacco funding undermines the CDC's ability to build on this proven success. Congress should reject proposed funding cuts so this and other important tobacco control work can continue uninterrupted. Congress also has the ability to help promote strong tobacco control globally by approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. This agreement includes an important provision agreed to by negotiators and supported by public health groups including ACS CAN that would protect the authority of member countries to enact lifesaving tobacco control measures. Finally, ACS CAN urges the administration to finalize the long overdue FDA deeming rule, so the agency can finally regulate increasingly popular tobacco products such as cigars, electronic cigarettes and hookah. While the overall rate of adult cigarette use is decreasing, youth are increasingly using these unregulated products. Every day they go unregulated is an opportunity for tobacco companies to promote their products to children in an effort to hook the next generation. We are making progress in the fight to curb tobacco addiction in this country. But now is not the time to be complacent or to roll back our efforts. More than 42 million adults still use tobacco products and the surgeon general estimates more than 480,000 will lose their lives to smoking-related illness in the U.S. this year. We call on Congress and the administration to recommit to making public health a top national priority by providing needed funding and protection for proven tobacco control and issuing regulations that will help to rein in an industry that takes extraordinary measures today and every day to keep customers hooked and hook youngsters on their addictive and deadly products.