Despite Years Attempting to Re-Brand Itself, Big Tobacco Is Up to Their Same Old Tricks as They Sue the FDA Over Its Tobacco Product Safety Advisory Committee
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The lawsuit announced late Feb. 25, by two of the major U.S. tobacco manufacturers, Lorillard Tobacco Company and RJ Reynolds, that challenges the legitimacy of the Food and Drug Administration's Tobacco Product Safety Advisory Commission (TPSAC) is nothing but a transparent and baseless ploy to delay the issuance of TPSAC's report on menthol cigarettes. The report, due on March 23, will examine the scientific evidence regarding the connection between menthol and increased youth smoking initiation and decreased smoking cessation. Legacy believes that there are clear links and it would appear that the companies are worried about what a fair review of the scientific evidence will show. It is critically important that TPSAC issue the report in a timely manner and remain unintimidated by these blatant industry tactics.
"This lawsuit is straight out of the tobacco industry's playbook of aggressively using litigation to protect its bottom line," said Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, president and Chief Executive Officer of Legacy. "The accusations impugning the integrity of the distinguished scientists on TPSAC are unfounded and unjustified," she added. She concluded, "It is truly extraordinary for these claims to be brought by these two companies, both of which are adjudicated racketeers that the U.S. District Court has determined manipulated scientific research as part of their 50-year fraud perpetrated on the American public to make money at the expense of human lives."
While these companies have a long history of using litigation to advance their ends, they are hardly invincible. Legacy itself was subject to litigation initiated by Lorillard in an effort to shut the organization down and silence our successful youth smoking prevention campaign, truth®. Legacy was fully vindicated by both the trial court and a unanimous Delaware Supreme Court. We join our colleagues in public health in expressing our confidence that the FDA will be undeterred by this ploy and TPSAC will stay the course in its important work to safeguard the public from the ravages of tobacco-related disease and premature death.
Legacy is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the national public health organization helps Americans live longer, healthier lives. Legacy develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The foundation's programs include truth®, a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as having contributed 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. The American Legacy 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. Visit http://www.legacyforhealth.org/.