Sen. Jeff Merkley Applauded for Protecting Kids from Tobacco

Dec 16, 2015, 18:04 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for his leadership in protecting America's kids from tobacco, the nation's number one cause of preventable death.

Sen. Merkley led the fight to defeat a proposal that would have greatly weakened FDA oversight of electronic cigarettes and cigars, including many candy and fruit-flavored products that have been introduced in recent years and been popular with kids. The House Appropriations Committee approved this proposal, and tobacco companies fought to include it in the final spending bill. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, Sen. Merkley strongly opposed this provision and worked successfully to keep it out of the budget agreement reached Tuesday night.

We thank Senator Merkley for standing up to the tobacco industry and working to protect kids from this new generation of tobacco products. While sweet-flavored cigarettes are banned by federal law, e-cigarettes are sold in more than 7,000 flavors, including gummy bear and cotton candy. Little cigars are also sold in candy and fruit flavors that appeal to kids. 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.

Thanks to Senator Merkley's leadership, the FDA will retain its full authority to regulate these products and take action to protect our kids.

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids