President Expected to Sign Tobacco Bill
Article date: June 12, 2009
By Rebecca V. Snowden
President Barack Obama says he will sign a sweeping tobacco bill that will drastically change how tobacco is regulated and marketed in the United States.
The legislation, known as "The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act," will grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) power over the sale, production, and marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products. It also includes provisions specifically designed to decrease youth smoking.
The Senate passed the bill Thursday by a vote of 79 to 17. The House of Representatives, which had already approved a slightly different version of the bill, approved the Senate's version Friday, by a vote of 307-97. That cleared the way for the bill to go to the President.
John R. Seffrin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), declared Thursday "a historic day for public health."
"Tobacco is virtually the only consumable product not regulated in the U.S. and the tobacco industry exploits this undeserved free pass by spending nearly $40 million every day aggressively marketing its products, especially to children, with enticing candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes. The legislation would stop the marketing of tobacco products to children, require tobacco companies to list the poisons in their products and mandate larger and more effective warning labels on tobacco product packaging," he said in a statement following the Senate vote.
The bill would require cigarette makers disclose product ingredients to the FDA and will prohibit them from using misleading labels such as "low tar" or "light" on cigarette packages. It also imposes bans on candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes, which often appeal to kids and teenagers. The bill would also hold tobacco companies to marketing restrictions – for example, they will no longer be allowed to advertise near schools or sponsor entertainment and sporting events.
“Every day, 3,500 children pick up their first cigarette and 1,000 become addicted smokers. This legislation has the power to help so many more people celebrate birthdays because they will never get addicted to tobacco in the first place,” said Seffrin.
In comments to reporters Friday, President Obama praised Congress for passing the bill.
"I'm proud that the House and the Senate have acted swiftly and in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion to pass this legislation that will protect our kids and improve our public health," he said.
The American Cancer Society's advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN, has been working tirelessly in support of this bill.
“The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, together with more than 1,000 public health, medical, children’s, and faith-based organizations, supports this long overdue legislation and applauds its passage," said ACS CAN President Daniel E. Smith.
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.
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