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ASH Certifies 193 Members of Congress “Free from Tobacco Money”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Megan Arendt
Office: 202-659-4310
Email: arendtm@ash.org 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 29, 2014 – Action on Smoking & Health (ASH), an organization devoted to creating a world free of tobacco-related damage, disease, and death both domestically and globally, announced today that 193 Senators and Representatives are being certified “Free from Tobacco Money.” This certification is awarded today in recognition of “World No Tobacco Day 2014. For the full list of those being recognized, please visit http://ash.org/wntd2014/.

On World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization and its partners, including ASH, highlight the harms associated with tobacco and advocate for effective tobacco control policies. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined, and tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death worldwide. Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century.

“We all know money talks, and in the case of tobacco industry contributions, the talk inevitably translates into more death and disease due to tobacco use,” said Dr. Alfred Munzer, chair of the ASH board and a long time anti-tobacco activist. “By refusing to take tobacco contributions, these political leaders demonstrate that the health of their constituents is far more important than the wealth of the tobacco barons.”

“Given that there is an irreconcilable conflict between public health and the interests of the tobacco industry, the FCTC guidelines recommend that governments shut out the tobacco industry from policy discussions,” said Laurent Huber, Director of the Framework Convention Alliance, a confederation of over 500 health groups from around the world. “By not accepting campaign contributions, these representatives are helping to achieve that aim.”

This certification recognizes that these representatives have not accepted campaign contributions from tobacco corporations for at least the past ten years. Annually, the tobacco industry contributes over $1.6 million to federal candidates and spends approximately $16.6 million lobbying Congress. ASH encourages politicians to voluntarily comply with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first treaty on tobacco control. The United States has signed but not ratified the FCTC treaty; however, ASH encourages voluntary compliance with its guidelines, especially at the state and local level.

ASH awards this certification in gratitude and acknowledgement of the commitment of these representatives to stand with health.

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