Friday, September 18, 2009

FDA Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act Passed

On June 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The legislation, which has been a priority for the American Heart Association for over a decade, was passed thanks to the countless communications and dedication from community advocates. Leaders at AHA like past CEOs Dudley Hafner and Cass Wheeler were in the war room with coalition partners like the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids making important strategy decisions to ensure the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tobacco products.

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown and then-current AHA President Timothy Gardner were in the White House Rose Garden as the President signed the act into law. You can read Nancy Brown's statement on the momentous occasion below. She is seen in this photo from CNN shaking hands with President Obama just after he signed the bill. Following is Nancy Brown's Statement:

"Today, President Obama signed landmark legislation that will have a dramatic impact on the health of all Americans as we fight to reduce death and disease from tobacco use. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will force the tobacco industry to abandon a destructive business model that kills more than 400,000 Americans each year. No longer will Big Tobacco be allowed to deceive children and adults with misleading claims about hazardous products. No longer will tobacco companies have free reign to launch shameless advertising campaigns targeting children in hopes of addicting a new generation of smokers.

We commend the Administration and Congress for enacting legislation that will turn the tide in our battle to save lives and significantly reduce the smoking rate among children and adults. Too many lives have been cut short by the cycle of addiction. Nearly one-third of heart disease and stroke deaths are linked to tobacco use, the nation’s leading preventable cause of death. We’re pleased that the tobacco industry will now be held accountable for a health crisis that’s largely the result of irresponsible marketing campaigns and deceptive business practices. With this new law, we are in a stronger position to provide lifesaving information to consumers and keep cigarettes out of the hands of children."

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