Debbie Wasserman Schultz

From the office of:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Sending Office: Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Sent By:

        Request for Signature(s)

FY21 Appropriations Letter: Help Fight and Prevent the Harmful Impacts of Tobacco

Support Increased Funding for CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health

Deadline to sign: EXTENDED to COB, Tuesday, March 10th

Current FY21 Signers: Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Anthony Brown, Rep. Julia Brownley, Rep. Sean Casten,  Rep. Tony Cardenas, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Angie Craig, Rep. Jason Crow, Rep. Danny K. Davis, Rep. Diana DeGette, Rep.
Mark DeSaulnier, Rep. Ted Deutch, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Eliot L. Engel, Rep., Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Rep. Alcee
L. Hastings,  Rep. Jahana Hayes, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Robin L. Kelly, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Ted W. Lieu, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Ben McAdams, Rep. A. Donald McEachin,
Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, Rep. Chris Pappas, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell,  Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Rep. Harley Rouda, Rep. Bobby L.
Rush, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, Rep. John P. Sarbanes, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D.,  Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Rep. Jackie Speier, Rep. Tom Suozzi, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Paul D. Tonko, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Rep. Frederica Wilson,
Rep. John Yarmuth

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in supporting vital funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH). Increased funding will equip OSH with the support it needs to address an epidemic in youth e-cigarette use as well as
tobacco products that kill more than 480,000 Americans each year.

I write to ask your support in requesting $310 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 for OSH, an $80 million increase from FY 2020. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in our country, and e-cigarette use among youth is
at epidemic levels and continues to rise, increasing to 27.5 percent of high school students in 2019. The CDC needs additional resources to address this alarming increase in youth e-cigarette use, expand a media campaign to help adult smokers to quit, and assist
populations most at risk of harm from tobacco products.

The harmful health impacts of tobacco disproportionately affect certain groups; for instance, African Americans suffer tremendous tobacco-related morbidity and mortality despite the fact that they tend to smoke fewer cigarettes per day and begin smoking
later in life than Whites, and American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking compared to all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. Additionally, e-cigarette use has risen dramatically among youth. From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette
use more than doubled among high school students and tripled among middle school students.

We must support critical efforts to address the use of and addiction to tobacco products. For any questions, please contact Natalie Litton with my staff at


Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Member of Congress

Letter Text:

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro                                    The Honorable Tom Cole

Chairwoman                                                                Ranking Member

House Appropriations Subcommittee                         House Appropriations Subcommittee

on Labor, Health, and Human Services,                     on Labor, Health, and Human Services,

Education, and Related Agencies                               Education, and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC  20515                                             Washington, DC  20515


Dear Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole:

As you and your colleagues begin work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related agencies appropriations bill, we request that you appropriate $310 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)
Office on Smoking and Health (OSH).  This $80 million increase over FY 2020 levels will help support critical programs to address a worsening epidemic in youth e-cigarette use as well as use of cigarettes and other types of tobacco.   

Tobacco use kills more than 480,000 Americans each year and more than 20 million Americans have died as a result of smoking over the past 50 years.  More than 16 million Americans are currently living with cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, and other diseases caused by tobacco use.  Without action to reducing smoking, 5.6 million children alive today will die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.  In addition to this enormous toll on health, tobacco use also inflicts substantial
economic harm.  Tobacco use is responsible for an estimated $170 billion in annual health care costs.

Despite the ongoing harm caused by tobacco use, until last year, OSH funding had remained relatively flat since FY 2014.  While Congress thankfully included a $20 million increase in funding last year, CDC continues to need additional resources to adequately
address the alarming increase in youth e-cigarette use, to expand a media campaign that has proven highly effective in helping adult smokers to quit, or to increase efforts to assist populations most at risk of harm from tobacco products.

From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette use more than doubled among high school students and tripled among middle school students. In just two years, the number of middle and high school student e-cigarette users increased by more than 3 million students.  In 2019,
more than 1 in 4 high school students had used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. Many high school students report using e-cigarettes nearly every day. This substantial rise in youth e-cigarette use is undoing the significant progress that has been made in
reducing youth tobacco use.

CDC’s “Tips from Former Smokers (Tips)” media campaign has proven to be highly successful and cost effective, but it is on the air for only part of each year.  The Tips campaign depicts former smokers coping with the devastating diseases and disabilities
caused by tobacco use and informs viewers how they can obtain evidence-based services to help them quit. Between 2012 and 2018, the campaign motivated more than 16.4 million smokers to make a quit attempt, assisted approximately one million smokers in successfully
quitting, and prevented at least 50,000 people from premature death.

While our nation’s smoking rate has decreased in recent decades, reductions in smoking have been uneven and certain populations continue to use tobacco products at much higher rates than the national rate.  For example, Native Americans’ and Alaskan Natives’
commercial tobacco use rate is significantly higher than the smoking rate of the overall adult population. Tobacco use is a major contributor to the three leading causes of death among African Americans. Those without a high school diploma are 2.5 times more
likely to smoke than someone with a college degree, and certain states have smoking rates more than double those of lower smoking states.  States in the Midwest and South have higher smoking rates than states in the Northeast and West.  New efforts are needed
to address disparities in who uses tobacco and who suffers from tobacco-caused disease. 

We appreciate the Subcommittee’s approval of $250 million for CDC’s tobacco use prevention and cessation programs at OSH in its FY 2020 Labor-HHS Education bill and for securing $230 million in the enacted spending agreement. However, to enable the agency
to more effectively address the pressing challenges posed by soaring youth e-cigarette use and disparities in tobacco use, our important federal programs will need additional support.  Increased funding will be vital for CDC tobacco prevention and cessation
programs and will help free future generations from tobacco’s devastating impact.


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, HealthCare

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