October 24, 2016
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Former FDA Commissioner Calls For Reduction Of Nicotine Levels In Cigarettes


WASHINGTON-- At Legacy's Warner Series Lecture on the impact of the Family and Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco), Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the FDA, called on the FDA to reduce the nicotine level in cigarettes, reducing the yield to non-addictive levels.   

"The FDA should quickly move to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels. If we reduce the level of the stimulus, we reduce the craving. It is the ultimate harm reduction strategy," said Dr. Kessler. "The law prohibits banning of cigarettes and reducing nicotine levels to zero, this policy does neither." 

The panel discussion marked the one-year anniversary on June 22, 2010, of the new law and examined the myths and misperceptions of having FDA-regulated tobacco products. The discussion will also identify the markers for success over the course of the next five years as public health leaders work to reduce the number one preventable cause of death in the nation: tobacco.

Other panelists included Legacy president and CEO Dr. Cheryl HealtonMatt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and John Payton, director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

"It is a national embarrassment that these lethal menthol products have been allowed to be marketed so disproportionately to African-American youth – or to any youth for that matter," said John Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "Menthol has been the bridge to entice youth to start smoking - resulting in 80 percent of African-American adults now smoking menthol. We have to shut it down."

As a leader in tobacco prevention and cessation efforts, Legacy brought thought leaders from the public health and tobacco communities on a number of topics for the Warner Series Lecture. On March 18, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - which has had federal regulatory authority over tobacco since June 2009 - issued a new rule that restricts the sale, distribution and use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The actions underscore the historical progress made towards fighting the nation's number one cause of preventable death: tobacco-related disease. The series is named for founding Legacy Board member and health economist, Kenneth E. Warner, to further discussion and knowledge on topics of relevance to public health and tobacco control.

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 American 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/.

Legacy is equipped with a VideoLink ReadyCam™ television studio system, providing journalists with faster, easier access to the nation's leading tobacco prevention and cessation experts. From this in-house broadcast studio, Legacy can offer immediate access to its experts to comment on breaking news, new research publications, or any news related to youth smoking prevention, adult quit smoking programs, or any issue related to smoking. The studio is connected directly to the Vyvx fiber network and is always available for live or pre-taped interviews.




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