Statement by M. Cass Wheeler
CEO, American Heart Association,
on U.S. House of Representatives Passage
of The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
The U.S. House of Representatives’ historic vote is a testament to how far our nation has come in understanding the deadly impact of tobacco. However, you don't start celebrating when the ball is on the ten-yard line. This will all be for nothing if we don’t score a touchdown with a win in the Senate. Each day, more than one-thousand children smoke their first cigarette. We must act now to protect those children and reduce their risk for smoking-related illnesses such as heart disease and stroke.
The industry has failed miserably in the area of moral responsibility with deceptive marketing practices to addict young and old without any concern for our nation’s public health. Senate leadership should keep this in mind and move quickly to approve the bill before Congress adjourns.
The American Heart Association commends the House for its courageous vote and Representatives Henry Waxman and Tom Davis, Chairmen John Dingell and Frank Pallone, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for their leadership on this issue. With smoking-related cardiovascular disease claiming the lives of 150,000 Americans each year, we cannot overstress the need for tobacco regulation. We urge the Senate to follow the House in passing this important legislation.