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President Obama Signs Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

June 23, 2009 [Washington, DC] -- Landmark legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate tobacco products was signed into law at a White House ceremony today.

The federal government can now regulate the amount of nicotine in tobacco products, ban flavorful additives, require every chemical ingredient to be detailed on the label and prohibit deceptive marketing and ads that target the young.

Lung Cancer Alliance President Laurie Fenton-Ambrose said, "This puts us on a whole new track in helping current smokers to quit and in preventing new generations of young people from ever becoming addicted in the first place."

"And, hopefully," said Fenton, "this will also mark a new track for lung cancer research and early detection."

Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen (D-VI,) the first female physician in the House of Representatives and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus's Health Brain trust, was acknowledged by President Obama at the signing ceremony at the White House today for her leadership in Congress on the legislation.

The congresswoman is also the primary sponsor of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2009, H.R.2112, which calls for a multi-agency comprehensive approach to all aspects of lung cancer from prevention to earlier detection, research and new treatments. .

"This comprehensive approach has never been done before and we are very grateful for her leadership and her commitment to this issue," said Fenton-Ambrose.

"Now with the highly addictive drug of nicotine under federal regulation, we must put aside the stigma of blame that has hurt so many patients whether they smoked or not, and has caused lung cancer to be the least funded of the major diseases, " she added.  "I believe that President Obama is sympathetic to this issue and hopefully will move to change public health policy on lung cancer as well."

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in every ethnic group, taking more lives each year than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. Over 50% of new cases are being diagnosed in former smokers and another 10% to 15% in people who have never smoked. The 5- year survival rate is still only 15%.

To view video of President Obama's remarks following the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signing ceremony, click here.  President Obama is joined on the stage by Congresswoman Donna Christensen [VI] (seen in white), lead sponsor of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act in the United State House of Representatives.

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For more information on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, click here.