As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, Sen. Murray fought to make sure the budget agreement announced this week properly funded the CDC's critical programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. CDC funding falls under the jurisdiction of Sen. Murray's subcommittee. She also helped defeat a harmful provision that would have greatly weakened FDA oversight of electronic cigarettes and cigars.
The House Appropriations Committee had proposed cutting funding for the CDC's tobacco prevention programs in half, to just $105.5 million, which would have decimated critical initiatives. But Sen.
Murray fought to ensure the final agreement provided $210 million, nearly the full amount approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. As a result the CDC will be able to continue initiatives such as the Tips from Former Smokers media campaign that has proven so successful and cost-effective at helping smokers quit, as well as its assistance to state tobacco prevention programs and state quitlines that help smokers trying to quit.
In other good news, the budget agreement does not include a provision, approved by the House Appropriations Committee, that would have limited FDA oversight of e-cigarettes and cigars already on the market, including many candy- and fruit-flavored products that have proven popular with kids. These products come in flavors such as cotton candy, gummy bear and watermelon. The latest government surveys show that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, and teens now smoke flavored little cigars at the same rate as cigarettes. The budget agreement preserves the FDA's ability to review these products and take action to protect our kids.
While the U.S. has greatly reduced smoking, tobacco use still kills nearly half a million Americans and costs us $170 billion in health care expenses each year. Thanks to Sen. Murray's leadership, the budget agreement supports efforts to continue this progress.