05/09/2014 10:40 AM EDT
FDA monitors compliance with federal tobacco laws through surveillance, inspections, and investigations. Help FDA in your community by reporting potential violations of the law.
Did you know that the public plays a vital role in ensuring that tobacco products stay out of the hands of kids?
Every day in the U.S. more than 3,200 youth under age 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 700 become daily cigarette smokers. To help end youth access to tobacco products, FDA monitors compliance with federal tobacco laws through surveillance and inspections, and by investigating complaints from the public about potential violations.
Your report may help us identify possible violations of the laws that we enforce, such as not selling regulated tobacco products to anyone under age 18.
Read this consumer update to learn how to help FDA ensure that federal tobacco laws are being followed by reporting potential violations of the law.

Gun Safety

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and the Tacoma City Council unanimously passed groundbreaking legislation that will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and make Washington safer.

The new law will require background checks for all gun sales at gun shows held on city property. It’s a measure that will keep guns from getting into the hands of dangerous people, and it will save lives — but with background checks legislation on the ballot this fall, we need to keep up the pressure for comprehensive gun laws statewide.

Send a message to Mayor Strickland and the Tacoma City Council thanking them for unanimously passing this common-sense law, then sign up to get involved with the fight ahead:

This is just one of the victories we’ve seen for common-sense gun laws this year. In March, the Washington state legislature passed a law to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. These are huge victories for public safety — but all Washingtonians will still be at risk until we pass comprehensive public safety laws, and we’re going to need supporters like you to stand with us every step of the way.

I-594, the ballot initiative to require background checks for all gun sales in Washington state, is going to be on the ballot in this November’s election, and we’re going to be doing everything we can to pass this important bill into law. There’s a lot left to do, and it starts with thanking legislators in Tacoma for leading the way.

The tide is turning in favor of common-sense gun laws all across America, and Washington is helping lead the way. Send a message of thanks today, and sign up to get involved in the fight for background checks in Washington:

Thanks for sending a message,

Everytown for Gun Safety


05/12/2014 2:45 PM EDT


If you’re one of the 44 million Americans at risk for osteoporosis—a disease in which bones become weak and are more likely to break—you may be taking bisphosphonates. This class of drugs has been successfully used since 1995 to slow or inhibit the loss of bone mass. May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month and FDA wants to keep you informed about the drugs used to treat this bone disease.

Read the Consumer Update to learn more about the benefits and usage of bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis.



Michael Sam Becomes First Openly Gay Man Selected In The NFL Draft

Another barrier for equal rights for all fell on Saturday when Michael Sam, from the University of Missouri, was drafted into the NFL by the St. Louis Rams with the 249th overall pick. Sam, who was named the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year for 2013, is the first openly gay man to be drafted into any of the four major professional sports in America.

The event happened just one day after Arkansas became the latest in a long line of states to see its same-sex marriage ban struck down.

In the immediate wake of Sam’s courageous decision to come out, NFL teams and players had encouraging things to say, with many general managers explicitly stating it would have no impact on their evaluation of Sam as a player. But “all the NFL personnel members” that Sports Illustrated spoke to off the record “believed that Sam’s announcement will cause him to drop in the draft.” It appears that if may have contributed: Sam is only the second person ever to hold the title of SEC Defensive Player of the Year and fall out of the top 33 picks of the NFL draft–let alone to number 249. Before the draft, he was projected to go 169th, in part because of a worse-than-expected performance at the NFL combine.

Buzz of the potentially historic moment had been building as draft day approached. Early last week, ESPN selected Sam as the winner of this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given to individuals who transcend sports. Then Sam signed a sponsorship agreement with Visa, tackling his off-the-field notoriety head on in a TV ad that aired during the first night of the NFL draft: “Judge me for what I do on the field,” he said. The audience for ESPN’s Saturday draft coverage, with a focus on Sam, was up 22 percent or almost 2 million viewers from the previous year.

When Sam was finally selected, he celebrated the moment as many others would: with an embrace and a kiss from his significant other, who just happens to be another man (watch the video of Sam getting the call saying he’d been picked here):


Sam now faces the next challenge in the process of becoming the first openly gay NFL athlete in history: making it through training camp and securing a spot on the roster. It’s not a given, according to those in the know: “Sam is considered undersized for an NFL defensive end and may have to become a linebacker in the pros.”

And to be sure, he will have to face more controversy around his sexual orientation. Even as he was selected, one Miami Dolphins player tweeted, “horrible.” But in an indication of how the league will treat any behavior of this nature, the player was promptly fined, suspended and forced to apologize.

BOTTOM LINE: The fight for LGBT equality took another big step forward on Saturday. Michael Sam became the first openly gay player drafted into one of America’s four major professional sports.

Put Prevention Barrier around the Golden Gate Bridge

My teenage son killed himself by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. If the bridge had a suicide prevention barrier (like other landmarks do), Kyle might still be alive today. Please sign my petition to install a barrier and save lives.

My son Kyle was only 18 when he took his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in September 2013. I still have no idea why he made that terrible decision. He had never been depressed, never mentioned suicide. It seems he decided to kill himself completely on impulse.

If the Golden Gate Bridge had a suicide prevention barrier, like other major bridges do, my son might still be alive today.

After my son died, I found out that the Golden Gate Bridge has more suicides than any landmark in the world. But unlike other landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge doesn’t have a life saving suicide prevention barrier to save people like my son from jumping to their deaths.

I started a petition on calling on the California Senate Budget Committee to approve funding for a suicide prevention barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge. Please sign my petition.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Kyle. He was just starting his senior year in high school, captain of the basketball team, planning on college. He had just gotten his passport for a trip to Australia after graduation. My son had excitements and hope in his life, and where does that go now? I still can’t believe he’s gone.

There’s a common misconception that people who attempt suicide once will just try again — that’s not true. In fact, one study showed that 94% of people who were talked down from the Golden Gate Bridge did not go on to kill themselves. If a barrier had been in place, my son could have been among that 94%.

It is appalling for California and America that the Golden Gate Bridge has more suicides than any landmark in the world. This is a problem that can be easily fixed, and lives will be saved as a result.

It is too late for my son, but if enough people sign my petition, I know we can help save someone else’s loved one. I know we can make sure no other family has to live through something like this.

Please sign my petition calling on the California Senate to approve funding for a suicide prevention barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thank you,

Kymberyrenee Gamboa
Fair Oaks, California