- Questions About Smoking, Tobacco, and Health
- Is smoking tobacco really addictive?
- Why do people start smoking?
- How many people use tobacco?
- What in tobacco smoke is harmful?
- Is secondhand (environmental) tobacco smoke dangerous?
- How does tobacco use affect the economy?
- What’s being done to protect people from the hazards of smoking?
- Are spit tobacco and snuff safe alternatives to smoking?
- What are the health risks of smoking pipes or cigars?
- What about electronic cigarettes? Aren’t they safe?
- Is dissolvable tobacco safe?
- What about more exotic forms of smoking tobacco, such as clove cigarettes, bidis, and hookahs?
- What can I do to help with any damage that may have been caused by smoking?
- Can quitting really help a lifelong smoker?
- How do people quit tobacco?
- To learn more
What’s being done to protect people from the hazards of smoking?
Since 1966, the US Surgeon General’s health warnings have been required on all cigarette packages and, since 1987, on all spit or oral tobacco products. Since 2001, the 7 major cigar manufacturers in the United States have provided 5 health warnings that rotate on cigar labels. These labels are much like those on cigarette packages.
On June 21, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its selection of 9 new larger, more prominent, color graphic cigarette health warnings. As of September 2012, all cigarettes for sale or distribution in the United States must be packaged or advertised with these new cigarette health warnings and a stop smoking hotline number. It has not yet been determined how this labeling change may impact other tobacco products.
Congress banned cigarette advertising on TV and radio in 1971 and spit tobacco advertising in 1987. The American Legacy Foundation and many states have made anti-smoking public service messages that are featured on television, radio, and billboards. Some tobacco companies have come up with their own ads, which appear to be anti-smoking but seem to actually promote a more favorable attitude toward the tobacco industry. The new FDA regulations mentioned above require that any tobacco ad use 20% of its ad space to display warnings about the dangers of smoking.
New laws affect tobacco marketing
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act went into effect in October 2009. This law gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco products in the United States.
One of the goals of the law is to restrict the marketing and advertising of tobacco products. Colorful ads and store displays are no longer permitted. Only black and white text ads are allowed. And in 2010, it became illegal to place outdoor tobacco ads within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.
Taxes on cigarettes have risen in many states in recent years. These increased costs have been shown to discourage young people from starting to smoke and encourage smokers to quit. As of late 2012, the federal cigarette tax is $1.01 per pack. State taxes on tobacco vary from as low as 17 cents (in Missouri) to up to $4.35 a pack (in New York).
Laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia restrict or do not allow smoking in certain public places. These laws range from simple restrictions, such as designated areas in state or local government buildings, to laws that ban smoking in all public places and workplaces. Federal buildings are required to be smoke-free. Smoking is also banned on all domestic airplane flights.
According to the US Surgeon General, smoke-free policies that ban smoking in all indoor areas are the only way to be sure that people are not exposed to secondhand smoke in workplaces and other public places.
Last Medical Review: 11/08/2012
Last Revised: 07/08/2013