Washington, D.C., April 2, 2009
— The American Public Health Association (APHA) today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The legislation aims to protect the health of Americans, particularly children, by giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products.
“For decades the tobacco companies have marketed their deadly products to our children, deceived consumers about the harm their products cause and failed to take any meaningful action to make their products less harmful or less addictive,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “Today’s overwhelmingly bipartisan vote provides an opportunity to finally end the special protection enjoyed by the tobacco industry and protect our children and the nation’s health instead.”
Tobacco use is responsible for about 438,000 deaths each year in the United States. In addition, tobacco use costs more than $96 billion each year in health care expenditures, and an additional $97 billion per year in lost productivity.
The legislation meets the high standard established by the public health community for tobacco regulation and will give the FDA authority to effectively regulate the manufacturing, marketing, labeling, distribution and sale of tobacco products.
“We urge the Senate to follow the lead of their House colleagues and vote in support of this important legislation,” said Benjamin.