House Appropriations Committee Must Reject Harmful Provisions That Would Jeopardize Progress Against Tobacco-Related Cancers

Provisions Would Prevent FDA from Eliminating Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars and Limiting Nicotine in Cigarettes to Minimally or Non-addictive Levels

June 14, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 14, 2023 – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider an appropriations bill to fund the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other related agencies for Fiscal Year 2024. The bill includes several provisions that would keep the FDA from fulfilling its duty to protect public health and threaten its efforts to combat the harmful impacts of tobacco. Specifically, these provisions would prevent the FDA from moving ahead with finalizing proposed rules to prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the marketplace, as well as prevent the agency from proposing a rule to set a maximum level of nicotine in cigarettes and certain tobacco products to levels that are not addictive. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), along with other tobacco control and public health partners, sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee calling on lawmakers to oppose any efforts to weaken or alter the FDA’s authority to regulate tobacco products.

Ahead of the markup, Lisa A. Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), issued the following statement:

“Members of the House Appropriations Committee have an opportunity today to make clear their commitment to reversing the toll of tobacco by rejecting provisions that would severely limit FDA’s authority to regulate tobacco products.

“FDA issued proposed rules last year to eliminate menthol in cigarettes and all flavors in all cigars, which would greatly reduce youth initiation, support successful quitting, and reduce health disparities caused by these products. However, provisions in the FY 2024 House Agriculture Appropriations bill would remove FDA’s ability to finalize these rules and would also hamstring FDA from proposing rules to limit nicotine in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels – efforts that could greatly help reduce overall cancer incidence and deaths and address disparities caused by targeted marketing of these deadly products to communities of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.

“If these provisions remain in the final spending bill, Big Tobacco will get exactly what the industry wants: more time and leeway to continue aggressive and predatory marketing tactics that are specifically designed to addict and retain users of the industry’s deadly tobacco products.

“The public health implications of this decision are dire. Tobacco use continues to be the number one preventable cause of cancer in the United States and is responsible for 480,000 deaths each year, including at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths.

“We urge Committee members to stand up for public health by rejecting all provisions that aim to dilute FDA’s authority to address the devastating health effects of tobacco.”

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