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We must protect our health gains

What will the next four years hold for the anti-tobacco movement in the U.S.? We can’t say for sure, and if the recent track record of pollsters tells us anything, it is that concrete political predictions are a fool’s game. But for those of us concerned about tobacco and public health, there is grave reason to worry.

President-elect Trump is not a smoker, and there is no reason to believe he is personally pro-tobacco use. But there are two indications from his campaign and transition to governance that are worrying.

First, he has repeatedly expressed his disdain for government regulations, and has promised to repeal as many as possible. Regulations in the area of tobacco and health include things like smokefree indoor air laws, a minimum purchase age, and restrictions on marketing to children. Much has been done to educate youth about the dangers of trying that first cigarette. But it is regulations that have drastically reduced tobacco use in the U.S., and saved many millions of lives.

Second, Mr. Trump has invited a number of officials with ties to the tobacco industry to be a part of his administration. No doubt their tobacco ties were not their main qualification, but the ties are worrying nonetheless. You can read about these connections here. The tobacco industry has a long history of influencing governments from within. There are myriad ways even one senior administrator can halt and roll back progress in the struggle against tobacco.

We will urge Mr. Trump and his administration to recognize the unique nature of tobacco and to see the moral as well economic wisdom of continuing the fight to reduce its use and impact on society. With your help, we have made tremendous gains over the last half century. We cannot let your investments in ASH or our joint advancements be overturned.

ASH will work tirelessly to protect and expand our public health gains. We are ready to hit the ground running, and we won’t be done until tobacco consumption is known only in the history books.

ASH is on the front line in the ongoing tobacco war, a war we helped start 50 years ago, and a war we are determined to win. In the past few years, we began to see that victory in the distance, a speck on the horizon to be sure, but reason for hope. But the tobacco industry is far from defeated, and it is clear they are rallying to counter attack.

Millions of lives are at stake. Help us stop big tobacco. Please make an urgent donation today, and support ASH as we rally OUR troops for public health.

All donations, up to $50,000, made before January 1st will be DOUBLED by a group of private donors who recognize the challenging environment we are in and who have stood up to show their support for health.

Will you join them in sending a message to the new administration that tobacco regulations cannot and must not be repealed?