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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

FDA's Impact on U.S. Tobacco Consumption by 2015

Tuesday, June 22, 2010  
Marking the one-year anniversary of the passageof TheFamily Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Legacy hosted a panel discussion to examine the new programmatic and regulatory landscape around tobacco control. The new law, signed into law by President Obama on June 22 of 2009 and giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco, is an unprecedented public health victory and years from now, could be lauded as a true tipping point in the rapid decline of smoking and changing of social norms surrounding tobacco in the United States. At the lecture, Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the FDA, called on the FDA to reduce the nicotine level in cigarettes, reducing the yield to non-addictive levels.

"The FDA should quickly move to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels. If we reduce the level of the stimulus, we reduce the craving. It is the ultimate harm reduction strategy," said Dr. Kessler. "The law prohibits banning of cigarettes and reducing nicotine levels to zero, this policy does neither."

Other panelists included Legacy president and CEO Dr. Cheryl Healton, Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and John Payton, director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

"It is a national embarrassment that these lethal menthol products have been allowed to be marketed so disproportionately to African-American youth - or to any youth for that matter," said John Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "Menthol has been the bridge to entice youth to start smoking - resulting in 80 percent of African-American adult smokers now smoking menthol. We have to shut it down."

» read the joint statment

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