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March 30, 2012

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

Secretary Sebelius Statement on HPHC List and MRTP Guidance

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in our country and today’s action by the FDA is a significant step toward providing Americans with the facts about the dangers of tobacco.

Tobacco companies will be required to report the amount of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals in tobacco products and their smoke.  The chemicals that will be reported cause or could cause serious health problems including cancer, lung disease, and addiction. Today’s action will ultimately provide important new information about the risks associated with tobacco products.

In addition, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act requires that tobacco products marketed to reduce risk are promoted truthfully and are backed by sound science. After the 1964 Surgeon General’s report linked smoking to cancer, industry changed the design of cigarettes and used the adjectives such as ‘light,’ ‘mild,’ or ‘low,’ to imply that these brands were less harmful. But experts found that they were no safer than regular cigarettes. The law now prohibits the use of such descriptors unless tobacco companies can prove their products are actually less dangerous.  These requirements prevent misleading advertising from an industry that spends more than $10 billion a year – $1 million an hour – to market their deadly products.

We are committed to protect public health and to make tobacco related disease and death part of America’s past and not its future. We will continue to do everything we can to help smokers quit and prevent kids from starting this deadly addiction.


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Last revised: April 4, 2014