WASHINGTON, DC--"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 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."
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