Posts Tagged ‘CEO Nancy Brown’

New Ads are a Compelling Weapon in the Fight Against Smoking

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Washington, D.C., Mar. 15, 2012American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on the new National Tobacco Education Campaign, unveiled today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

“The CDC’s new tobacco education campaign could not come at a better time. The painfully real accounts of former smokers featured in these ads will focus public attention on the devastating health effects of tobacco use, encourage current smokers to quit and help strongly combat the tobacco industry’s efforts to foster a new generation of addicts.

About one-third of smoking-related deaths in the United States are linked to cardiovascular disease. The stories of two Americans included in this campaign, who suffered from a heart attack and a stroke as a result of smoking, are harrowing examples of how tobacco can ruin an individual’s health. The ads highlight a shocking but very realistic fate that could await some current smokers if they continue their tobacco addiction. As the ads emphasize, smoking contributes to 1 in 5 strokes, and your chances of having a heart attack increase every time you light up.

The Surgeon General’s report released last week points to strong evidence that tobacco-education media campaigns can help reduce the number of smokers in this country. The American Heart Association believes these graphic ads, coupled with vigorous tobacco control at the state level, will reach not only the adults who smoke, but also will break through to teens and discourage them from ever taking up this deadly habit.”

Visit the CDC website  or click the video below to see these compelling ads for yourself!


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AHA CEO Nancy Brown’s Statement on Latest Court Ruling on Tobacco Warning Labels

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Washington, D.C., Feb. 29, 2012 American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on today’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon that the Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco warning labels are unconstitutional:

“Today’s district court ruling that the FDA’s tobacco warning labels violate the First Amendment is unconscionable.

In his decision, Judge Leon stated that tobacco warning labels fail to convey any factual information about the health consequences of smoking. Nothing could be further from the truth. These labels clearly depict the terrible effects of tobacco addiction. Additionally, research has shown that these images are very effective in reducing tobacco use.

The American Heart Association believes that the graphic depictions of smoking-related diseases on cigarette packages will drive home the message that tobacco use is an equal opportunity killer, affecting smokers and nonsmokers alike. Cigarette smoking causes about 443,000 premature deaths each year and about 49,000 of these deaths are due to secondhand smoke.

In the United States, about one-third of smoking-related deaths are linked to heart disease and stroke.

Tobacco warning labels play a vital role to help current smokers quit and keep children from becoming addicted. Without them there could be more deaths from tobacco addiction and more profits for the tobacco industry.

While Judge Leon’s ruling was not unexpected given his earlier decision to block graphic warning labels, we sincerely hope this decision will be overturned on appeal.”



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USDA Releases New School Meal Nutrition Standards

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Washington, D.C. — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement on the release of the final nutrition standards for school meals announced today by First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: 

“For the first time in a generation, America’s children will have better choices when they get in line at their school cafeterias. 

The new U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition standards are a huge win for kids’ health that will greatly improve the selection of foods and beverages sold in schools. When put into place across the country, these guidelines will play a critical role in helping young Americans maintain a healthy weight, and ensure their lives are free of heart disease and stroke. 

Unfortunately, this victory is not yet complete. The American Heart Association was extremely disappointed that recent congressional interference with the USDA standards will allow schools to keep french fries and pizza on the daily menu. In addition, the association is concerned that children are going to continue to consume too much salt because the timeline to apply sodium standards in school meals is lengthy. 

The association looks forward to working with the USDA, state legislatures and departments of education, and local schools districts to apply — and improve — the new nutrition standards.”

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Statement By AHA CEO Nancy Brown on Teen Smoking Numbers

Friday, December 16th, 2011

“The drop in teen smoking rates announced  … as part of the Monitoring the Future Survey is very exciting news in the fight to stop tobacco use by the young people of this nation. The new survey indicates that students reporting any cigarette smoking in three grades — 8, 10 and 12, declined overall to 11.7 percent from 12.8 percent in 2010. This is clear evidence of our successful efforts to heighten awareness about the dangers of smoking, persuade smokers to quit, and discourage smoking initiation.

But much more work needs to be done. As the survey reveals, teens are using other tobacco products such as hookah water pipes and small cigars at a disturbing rate, and there’s always the chance that cigarette smoking rates among students could stall or be reversed. To prevent this, we continue to strongly encourage state policy makers to better advance highly effective tobacco prevention policies such as increased funding for tobacco control programs, passage of tough smoke-free workplace laws and higher tobacco taxes.

Big Tobacco will continue its relentless efforts to capture the attention of our kids and addict them early in life. As a result, millions of children will be lured into a lifetime of tobacco use that will cause them to die prematurely from heart disease, stroke or other chronic diseases. We must be just as relentless and work to eradicate the use of tobacco by all young Americans, because the health of the next generation is critical to our nation’s future.”

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Major League Baseball Limits Smokeless Tobacco Use

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

A good first step. On November 22nd, Major League Baseball announced tighter restrictions pertaining to the use of smokeless tobacco by its players, as part of a new labor deal. Although players will still be able to use smokeless tobacco products during the game, they now cannot use them in pre-and post game interviews, or display packages in their back pockets when spectators are in the stands. In addition, the players union has agreed to partake in a national public service campaign with the Partnership at

This is a good first step, but there is still room for improvement.

See American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown’s statement below:

“The American Heart Association is pleased that baseball players recognize the dangers of smokeless tobacco use and will now take steps to reduce its visibility during and after games and other public events, and educate young people about its dangers.
While today’s Major League Baseball agreement on smokeless tobacco is not a grand slam, it is definitely a solid base hit.  Although the players would not agree to stop using tobacco while on the field, the contract provisions are an important step forward.
Children who emulate their favorite players by using smokeless tobacco risk falling into a trap that can lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction.  Evidence shows that kids who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers.
Baseball is the nation’s pastime, and Americans cherish this great game and its time-honored traditions. But in the case of smokeless tobacco, there are clear indications that tradition leads to undesired health consequences, including oral cancer, tooth decay, gum disease, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.”

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Special Interests Should Not Be on the Menu for School Lunches, Says American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

November 17, 2011

Congressional interference with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed standards for school meals puts special interests before America’s children. 

New language inserted into the agriculture appropriations legislation by Congress will prevent the USDA from setting limits on the amounts of French fries, pizza and salty foods included in school lunch menus. This is a discouraging outcome for children across the country and for parents whose efforts to provide their kids with a nutritious diet will be undermined by special interests who gain financially from supplying schools with unhealthy foods. 

The standards recommended by the USDA are replacing grossly outdated ones that are more than a decade behind current nutritional science. With strong evidence-based standards in place, our nation would be well on its way to creating better food choices for school children. But Congress’ amendments will reverse an important achievement and put our children’s nutrition at great risk. 

It is a sad fact that this nation’s school-aged children consume too much sodium in their diets — an average of more than 3,000 milligrams each day. Alarmingly, school lunches provide nearly half of that amount in one meal. Yet, the bill’s amendments will prohibit the USDA from requiring schools to reduce the sodium content of the foods they serve by more than 5 percent to 10 percent, stalling efforts to reach the long-term sodium reduction target of 25 percent to 50 percent, recommended by the Institute of Medicine. 

In addition, the language will allow the USDA to count the tomato paste used on pizza as a “vegetable,” and forbid the setting of maximum limits on the number of starchy vegetables that can be served weekly, a move that could put French fries on school menus several times a week. These changes will make it more difficult for kids to get the fruits, green and orange vegetables, and whole grains they desperately need in their diets. 

Healthy school meals can set children on a lifelong path of learning about and enjoying nutritious foods. Congress needs to remember the strong support parents have shown for the proposed USDA standards, and take special interests off the school lunch menus of American’s children.

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National Patient Groups Welcome Supreme Court Announcement to Review Affordable Care Act

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Statement of the American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association

WASHINGTON – November 14, 2011 – The nation’s leading groups representing patients and families living with cancer, diabetes, heart disease or stroke issued the following statement today in response to the announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

The American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association filed as amici curiae in multiple federal courts of appeal in support of the constitutionality of the law.

Following is a statement from the four organizations that filed the amicus brief:

“Our organizations, which represent tens of millions of people across the country who are living with cancer, diabetes, heart disease or stroke, welcome the Court’s announcement and hope that it will uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act to ensure that patients with life-threatening chronic diseases can access the law’s critical protections.

“Our organizations believe that patient protections, including those that end discrimination in the insurance market against people with pre-existing conditions, rely on the individual responsibility requirement. These provisions significantly improve the health care system for chronic disease patients and their families by expanding access to quality, affordable health care; reducing the cost burden on families; and refocusing the system to emphasize prevention.

“For decades our organizations have worked to expand access to health care nationwide and to boost our nation’s emphasis on disease prevention and management. As any patient knows, chronic disease strikes people without regard for their opinions or political persuasion. We are optimistic that timely review by the nation’s highest court will help to mitigate confusion and allow implementation to continue in a way that supports and strengthens provisions of the law that enable patients with chronic diseases to access quality, affordable health care.”

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Statement: AHA CEO Strongly Urges Justice Department to Appeal Court Decision on Tobacco Warning Labels

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The American Heart Association ardently disagrees with today’s ruling by a federal judge blocking the implementation of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new graphic warning labels on cigarette packs.  These warning labels are a vital part of keeping children from becoming addicted and helping current smokers quit.  We strongly encourage the Justice Department to appeal this ruling.

There is a clear reason why the tobacco industry is fighting these warning labels—they work. Many other countries already require graphic warning labels, and research has clearly shown that they are effective in reducing tobacco use.  We know from decades of experience that the tobacco industry will fight any laws that reduce its profits from selling a deadly product.  Today’s misguided court ruling could result in more deaths from tobacco addiction and more profits for the tobacco industry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 45 million Americans smoke cigarettes, about 20 percent of the population, and one in five high school students still smoke.  The new health warnings represent an aggressive and welcome approach to reducing smoking rates that have leveled off in recent years as tobacco companies continue to launch campaigns to entice new smokers and maintain current customers.

The American Heart Association believes that the graphic depictions of smoking-related diseases on cigarette packages will drive home the message that tobacco use is an equal opportunity killer, affecting smokers and nonsmokers alike. In the United States, about one-third of smoking-related deaths are linked to heart disease and stroke. Cigarette smoking causes about 443,000 premature deaths each year and about 49,000 of these deaths are due to secondhand smoke. 

Undoubtedly, the new graphic health warnings, if allowed to proceed, will heighten awareness about the dangers of smoking and more importantly, encourage smokers to quit and discourage smoking initiation.  We are confident that future court rulings will reverse Judge Leon’s decision and allow the FDA to move forward with these important warning labels.

For more information, visit

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Celebrating 30 Years of Advocacy Success!

Friday, November 4th, 2011

When the American Heart Association says, “You’re the Cure”, we mean it!  Join us in celebrating 30 years of heart disease and stroke advocacy and the grassroots advocates who made it possible.  Together, we have helped build healthier communities and healthier lives through policy change. 

Over the last three decades, we have accomplished great things in the areas of tobacco control, research and public health funding, childhood obesity prevention, nutrition promotion, systems of care, CPR training and AED placement, and quality health care access.  And we’re just getting started! 

Next month, we’ll be premiering our 30th anniversary video, highlighting many of these successes and featuring some of your fellow advocates.  Here is a sneak peek trailer! 

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State Preemption Laws Weaken Efforts to Curb Smoking Rates

Friday, August 26th, 2011

“Although we can claim victory in repealing many harmful smoke-free preemption laws, we have not made a significant dent in removing barriers that prevent local communities from keeping destructive products and misleading advertisements away from children and adults.  Research has shown that tobacco control measures initiated at the local level inevitably influence state and national policies, however, too many lawmakers have failed to support evidence-based interventions at the local level that reduce tobacco’s deadly toll.” – Nancy Brown, AHA CEO

To read the full statement, click here

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