In 2009 the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law giving the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate the tobacco industry. The goal of this law was to ultimately prevent children and youth from using tobacco products and to reduce its affects on public health. It passed with almost 73% of the vote in U.S. House.
H.R. 1639 is being sponsored by U.S. Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL15) in the U.S. House of Representatives that would take away the Food and Drug Administration’s power to regulate cigars. H.R. 1639 reads:
To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction over certain tobacco products, and to protect jobs and small businesses involved in the sale, manufacturing and distribution of traditional and premium cigars.
Many adolescents today are turning away from cigarettes and turning to flavored cigars and cigarillos (small cigarette-sized cigars) because of the cheaper cost. Cigars are no less harmful than cigarettes and contain carcinogenic compounds like cigarettes. A traditional large cigar may contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes. Smoking cigars has been shown to increase heart disease and lung disease, as well as pancreatic and bladder cancer, and oral cancers such as lip and tongue. In fact, “cancers of the mouth, larynx and esophagus may be four to 10 times higher in cigar smokers than non-smokers,” according to the American Cancer Society.
Removing cigars from the oversight of the FDA to protect business over public health is not “good business” nor is it healthy for the youth of America. Below are the names and email addresses of the Florida representatives who are co-sponsoring HR 1639. Florida residents can contact their representative by email, but any resident of the United States can express their views regarding this issue by mailing letters to the cosponsors of this bill. Please contact these representatives and let them know the importance of keeping cigars under FDA jurisdiction and control.
1. Buchanan – Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee, & DeSoto Counties;https://forms.house.gov/buchanan/webforms/contact-new.html
2. Diaz-Balart – Miami/Doral; http://mariodiazbalart.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=2§iontree
3. Mack – Collier & Lee Counties; https://mack.house.gov/?p=Email
4. Mica – St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, Putnam, & Seminole Counties; http://mica.house.gov/district-office-staff
5. Miller – Panhandle Counties; http://jeffmiller.house.gov/Contact/
6. Rivera – Miami, Monroe, & Collier Counties; https://rivera.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
7. Rooney – Charlotte, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Okeechobee, Highlands, & Glades Counties; https://forms.house.gov/rooney/contact-form.shtml
8. Ros-Lehtinen – Miami/Miami Beach & Florida Keys; https://ros-lehtinen.house.gov/contact-me
9. Southerland – Big Bend, Panama City, & North Florida; https://southerland.house.gov/index.cfm/email-me
10. West – Palm Beach & Broward Counties; https://forms.house.gov/west/webforms/contact-form.shtml
11. Wilson – Miami/Broward; http://wilson.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=3