February 15, 2022
Dear Dr. Califf,
Congratulations on your confirmation as the new FDA Commissioner. In addition to sending our congratulations on behalf of our staff and Board, I am writing to introduce our organization, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and also to commend and thank you for your recognition of the epidemic of tobacco-related disease that still ravages this country and the world.
Founded in 1967, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is a U.S. based 501(c) (3) organization and one of the nation’s oldest antismoking organizations. ASH was instrumental in the development of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and continues to promote the implementation of its evidence-based measures. ASH’s vision is to end the worldwide disease, damage and death caused by smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke. We work to do this through a human rights-based approach to tobacco control, litigation, and strategies designed to phase out the sale of commercial tobacco, our Project Sunset.
As a cardiologist, we know you understand the devastation caused by tobacco and we hope that you will make tobacco control an important part of your work. An essential first step is to draft an effective rule banning menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes; this will save lives and help to correct health inequities. We hope that your tobacco control work will continue above and beyond this goal during your tenure.
As FDA Commissioner, your voice has the potential to make a difference. ASH urges you to use that voice to end the tobacco epidemic – to minimize tobacco-related diseases in this generation and create a tobacco free next generation. Action on Smoking and Health is ready and willing to be a resource to you as you address these and all tobacco-related issues at the national and international levels. Congratulations again on your much deserved confirmation.