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Statement by American Dental Association President Dr. John S. Findley On Passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

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WASHINGTON, June 12, 2009—"The American Dental Association heartily commends Congress for passing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This legislation, passed yesterday by the Senate and today by the House of Representatives, will give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the express authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products.

"Dentists are the first line of defense in the war against oral cancer and many other tobacco-related diseases. The American Dental Association has long-standing policy that nicotine is a drug, and that cigarettes and other tobacco products are nicotine delivery devices and, therefore, should be regulated by the FDA. The Association has devoted particular attention to the insidious marketing of tobacco products to children, especially so-called 'smokeless' or spit tobacco products.

"Many Americans believe that tobacco products already are regulated for health and safety when in fact they're not. Over the years, the tobacco industry has used its enormous political influence to avoid even the most basic oversight of its products. As a result, tobacco use remains the main cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.

"About nine out of 10 people who will die from oral and throat cancers use tobacco, and their risk of developing these cancers is related to how much (and how often) they use tobacco. On average, 40 percent of those with these cancers will not survive more than five years. Tobacco products are also associated with higher rates of gum disease, one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.

"Congress's action is the first step in more effectively regulating tobacco use and marketing, and we urge the president to sign this legislation as soon as possible."

About the American Dental Association

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.