Legacy Applauds Appointment of FDA's New Director To Lead Its Tobacco Regulatory Center

Statement from Legacy President and CEO, Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recent years, public health has seen historic strides in tobacco control. Under the auspices of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the nation began in earnest to implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, that for the first time gave the federal government authority to regulate tobacco. As they say, "With great power, comes great responsibility."

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As the first head of the Center for Tobacco Products, our respected colleague, Dr. Lawrence Deyton, "Bopper," led this unprecedented charge with an unwavering commitment to better safeguard the public scourge of tobacco.

As he leaves the agency to serve as Professor of Medicine and Health Policy at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, his legacy will be remembered for years to come.

The FDA's announcement that Mitchell Zeller, J.D., will assume the role of director of the Center for Tobacco Products on March 4, 2013, underscores the depth of commitment the FDA has to protecting the health of the nation and ending the tobacco epidemic.

We applaud today's decision to appoint Zeller, who is an accomplished lawyer, tobacco control strategist and advocate for public health. He was the former associate commissioner of the FDA under David Kessler and previously served as health policy expert with Pinney Associates as well as Executive Vice President here at Legacy during its formative years.

He helped lead The Strategic Dialogue on Tobacco Harm Reduction (the Dialogue) among public health experts. Their ambitious vision: a world in which virtually no one uses cigarettes. Dialogue participants concluded that realizing that vision would have a profound impact on reducing death and disease from tobacco use.

Zeller's thought leadership and foresight on the regulation of tobacco and reducing smokers' health risks will be an invaluable asset to the FDA as it moves forward with its tremendously important mission.

Legacy looks forward to serving as a trusted resource to the agency and will continue our work in educating and working alongside our colleagues at the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal policy makers regarding tobacco use and its deadly consequences.      

Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.

Follow us on Twitter @legacyforhealth and Facebook www.Facebook.com/Legacy.



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