Letters to the Editor

Nelson, stand up to tobacco industry

In 2014, Senate Commerce Committee member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. was talking about the defective airbag made by Takata of Japan. The recall of Takata-made airbags is expected to continue through 2019.
In 2014, Senate Commerce Committee member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. was talking about the defective airbag made by Takata of Japan. The recall of Takata-made airbags is expected to continue through 2019. AP file

Senator Nelson, you need to stand up to the tobacco industry.

While the long overdue announcement in early May from the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) that they would assert authority over all tobacco products was a critical step to reducing tobacco use and saving lives, Congress is now facing an attempt by the tobacco industry to weaken FDA’s oversight of these addictive products and undermine the recent public health win.

The tobacco industry and their allies in Congress are working to attach amendments to the agriculture appropriations bill which would fund the FDA — that would strip FDA’s authority to review new products, ones becoming increasingly popular with youth, like e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah. These amendments would also create an exemption from oversight for many cigars, including some that are cheap, flavored and popular with youth.

Senator Nelson, I urge you not to fall for the industry’s latest trick to avoid critical FDA oversight of these addictive and potentially lethal products by refusing to support any amendments to the agriculture appropriations bill that would hurt the progress we’re making in improving and protecting the public health of the country.

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death nationwide and this year alone, it is estimated that 14,500 cancer deaths in Florida can be directly attributed to it. Not to mention tobacco use costs our state $8.64 billion in health care costs annually. Florida needs you, Senator Nelson, to stand up to the tobacco industry and ensure FDA’s oversight of tobacco products remains strong.

Nancy Ambrose, Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

Holmes Beach and Bradenton

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