Rep. Nita Lowey Applauded for Protecting Kids from Tobacco

Dec 17, 2015, 16:13 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) for her leadership in protecting America's kids from tobacco, the nation's No. 1 cause of preventable death.

As the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Lowey fought successfully to make sure the budget agreement announced this week didn't include two harmful provisions that would have undermined tobacco prevention efforts. One provision would have greatly weakened FDA oversight of electronic cigarettes and cigars, while the other would have slashed funding for the CDC's programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

The first provision Rep. Lowey helped defeat would have limited FDA oversight of e-cigarettes and cigars already on the market, including many candy- and fruit-flavored products that have proven popular with kids. These products come in flavors such as cotton candy, gummy bear and watermelon. The latest government surveys show that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, and teens now smoke flavored little cigars at the same rate as cigarettes. The budget agreement preserves the FDA's ability to review these products and take action to protect our kids.

The budget agreement also provides $210 million for the CDC's programs to prevent kids from smoking instead of a proposed cut to just $105.5 million. The CDC will be able to continue initiatives such as the Tips from Former Smokers media campaign that has proven so successful and cost-effective at helping smokers quit, as well as its assistance to state tobacco prevention programs and state quitlines that help smokers trying to quit.

While the U.S. has greatly reduced smoking, tobacco use still kills nearly half a million Americans and costs us $170 billion in health care expenses each year. Thanks to Rep. Lowey's leadership, the budget agreement rejects efforts to undo this progress.

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids