Posts Tagged ‘Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act’

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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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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Quit Smoking Today by Celebrating the Great American Smokeout!

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Have you always wanted to quit? Are you always telling friends and family you’ll stop smoking tomorrow? Well, tomorrow is now today! Join our friends at the American Cancer Society and celebrate the 36th annual Great American Smokeout by kicking the habit right now. Today is the day where people from all over the country commit to quitting smoking. Not tomorrow. Not Monday. Not next year. Today!   

From a healthier heart to a little more cash in your pocket, the benefits of quitting smoking are crucial to anyone’s well-being! 

Still need a little inspiration to ditch the cigarettes? Watch the video below from President Obama and learn how to quit today!

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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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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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Let's Celebrate!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Let’s celebrate! Today is the one year anniversary of the signing of historic legislation which gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products. Starting today tobacco manufacturers will no longer be able to label cigarette packages as “light”, “low”, or “mild”.

Unfortunately, many tobacco manufacturers are still using deceptive techniques to imply that some cigarette packages are safer. The manufacturers of Marlboro are using colored packaging to reinforce the message that certain packages are “light”. The New York City Department of Health has released advertisements to educate the public about these deceptive techniques- Check it out here!

You’re the Cure advocates should be proud of the work that we all did to pass this historic legislation. There are still major hurdles ahead, and we should all still push for smoke-free air legislation and higher tobacco taxes. However, today take time to pat yourself on the back for this historic success.

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FDA Tobacco Implementation and State/Local Anti-Tobacco Highlights

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Advocates and volunteers of the American Heart Association are making great strides to pursue a tobacco-free America. Since enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009, many provisions of the law have been implemented. For example, in September 2009, candy flavored cigarettes designed to entice kids to start smoking were banned. In June 2010, the sale of tobacco products to minors became a federal offense for the first time. The law now prohibits cigarette manufacturers from making misleading health claims about their products, banning terms like “light” and “low tar” in their marketing. The association continues to shape implementation of the law through regulatory comments submitted to FDA officials.

The association advocates for providing funding and insurance coverage for programs to help tobacco users quit, and increasing cigarette taxes to discourage tobacco use. In the past year, the association has worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on expanding coverage of tobacco cessation counseling to all Medicare beneficiaries.

The association continues to find success in efforts to ensure everyone the right to breathe smoke-free air. Kansas and Michigan both passed strong smoke-free air laws that will cover almost all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Elsewhere, seven states have increased tobacco excise taxes to reduce the rate of smoking. The average state cigarette tax is now $1.42 per pack. Other state successes supported by the association include:

-New York passed legislation June 21 that will give the state the highest cigarette tax in the country. The new law adds $1.60 in state taxes to every pack sold starting July 1. The average price of cigarettes in New York City will be even higher, nearly $11 a pack.

-In South Carolina, the Legislature voted May 13 to override the governor’s veto and increase the cigarette tax from 50 cents to 57 cents a pack. This is a huge accomplishment for South Carolina, which has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation and had not increased it since 1977.

-In New Mexico, the cigarette tax was increased by 75 cents after the governor signed legislation to make cigarettes $1.66 a pack.

-Washington and Utah passed $1.00-a-pack increases in their cigarette tax.
-Hawaii raised its cigarette tax by 40 cents a pack.

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Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Tuesday, June 22 marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s historic signing of the bill giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products. The signing of this legislation was an incredible moment after more than a decade of work among You’re the Cure advocates and others, and it’s only fitting we should celebrate!

Many of the provisions of the new law take effect on this one-year anniversary. Larger, stronger warning labels will now be required on smokeless tobacco packages and advertisements. Misleading health claims like ‘light’, ‘low’, and ‘mild’ will be prohibited on smokeless tobacco and cigarette products. Several provisions aimed at deterring children from tobacco use also take effect on June 22nd. Selling tobacco to anyone under the age of 18 becomes a federal violation for the first time, and there will no longer be sales of cigarette packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.

As of June 22nd, America’s kids will be better protected from a lifetime of tobacco addiction and the cardiovascular effects that could come with it. It’s truly a day to celebrate. Happy Anniversary!

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The White House Signing of the FDA Tobacco Bill

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
Today, we have a guest post from AHA CEO Nancy Brown. Enjoy!

“I was honored to join AHA President, Dr. Timothy Gardner, Government Relations Manager Derek Scholes, and dozens of our public health partners at the White House yesterday when President Obama signed the FDA Tobacco Bill.

It was a great privilege to join our public health partners in celebrating over a decade of work to further this important legislation. I can’t think of another piece of legislation that has the support of over 1,000 public health organizations who worked tirelessly to advance this cause. The American Heart Association remained at the forefront of this fight with key partners, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association.

The significance of this legislation on the health of Americans can’t be emphasized strongly enough. I am grateful to our You’re the Cure Advocates, and American Heart Association staff and volunteers across the country who have devoted so much time and energy to make this day a reality.

I’ve had several people ask – “so what was it like to be at the White House”? The signing celebration was actually in the Rose Garden, which is as beautiful in person as it is on television. The President was joined by Vice President Biden, and over a dozen key Members of Congress who were there smiling broadly as the bill was signed. President Obama made a very passionate speech about the importance of the bill, the lives it will save, and the savings to our healthcare system we will realize because of improved public health. He even commented on his own use of tobacco, which began when he was a teenager. Check out the photos posted below of the signing ceremony.

Following the ceremony, we joined other AHA DC-based staff at a celebration party hosted by the American Cancer Society. There, I was able to share my thoughts on the significance of this bill to the AHA, our mission, and the public we serve. John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, the volunteer chairman of the board of the American Lung Association, and Matt Myers, CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids also talked passionately about the impact this bill will have.

It was such an honor to represent all of the AHA volunteers and staff on such a significant day. I will remember this day always.

As an interesting aside, I asked our two former CEO’s recently to reflect upon their visits to the White House as well as on the decade long fight for FDA regulation. Both Cass Wheeler and Dudley Hafner have been blogging and twittering about their experiences over the years in the fight for FDA regulation of tobacco products. Dudley shared with me yesterday that he visited the White House three times when he was CEO: Once with President Reagan, and twice for visits with President Clinton, all to talk about the importance of and need for strong public policy in the area of tobacco control. Cass also had several opportunities to visit the White House during his tenure as CEO, and he even ran a short race with President Clinton early in his years as CEO…

Thank you again for all of your work to advance this critical piece of legislation that will truly change the health of Americans.”

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