Statement from Legacy President and CEO, Cheryl G. Healton, DrPHWASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recent years, public health has seen historic strides in tobacco control. Under the auspices of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the nation began in earnest to implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, that for the first time gave the federal government authority to regulate tobacco. As they say, "With great power, comes great responsibility." (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101101/DC86294LOGO) As the first head of the Center for Tobacco Products, our respected colleague, Dr. Lawrence Deyton, "Bopper," led this unprecedented charge with an unwavering commitment to better safeguard the public scourge of tobacco. As he leaves the agency to serve as Professor of Medicine and Health Policy at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, his legacy will be remembered for years to come. The FDA's announcement that Mitchell Zeller, J.D., will assume the role of director of the Center for Tobacco Products on March 4, 2013, underscores the depth of commitment the FDA has to protecting the health of the nation and ending the tobacco epidemic. We applaud today's decision to appoint Zeller, who is an accomplished lawyer, tobacco control strategist and advocate for public health. He was the former associate commissioner of the FDA under David Kessler and previously served as health policy expert with Pinney Associates as well as Executive Vice President here at Legacy during its formative years. He helped lead The Strategic Dialogue on Tobacco Harm Reduction (the Dialogue) among public health experts. Their ambitious vision: a world in which virtually no one uses cigarettes. Dialogue participants concluded that realizing that vision would have a profound impact on reducing death and disease from tobacco use.