Tobacco Bill Anniversary Brings Tougher Restrictions on Big Tobacco

It’s been about a year since President Obama signed historic legislation known as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, into law, granting the FDA regulation over tobacco products. Major provisions of the law are already in place. On the first year anniversary of the bill, new restrictions on the marketing and sale of tobacco will go into effect.

“This landmark public health law will begin to break the deadly cycle of addiction and put an end to Big Tobacco’s targeting of our nation’s children,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society’s advocacy affiliate. “The potential impact of the one-year anniversary of this law, and the provisions that are implemented on the anniversary, cannot be understated.”

The legislation granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) power over the sale, manufacturing, and marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products, and included provisions specifically designed to decrease youth smoking.

One of the first of these initiatives to go into effect was a ban on fruit- and candy-flavored cigarettes, enacted last September. Flavored cigarettes are especially popular among kids and teens, in part because they are sold in enticing flavors, which may seem more appealing than regular cigarettes.

Now, the FDA will begin implementing several new provisions, including larger, stronger warnings on smokeless tobacco products and a ban on the use of misleading descriptions such as “light,” “mild,” or “low-tar” on cigarette packages and marketing materials. Tobacco companies now also are prohibited from advertising at sports and cultural events and distributing free samples and non-tobacco items, such as hats and T-shirts, with tobacco purchases. Also enacted on the anniversary: the first federal ban on the sale of cigarette and smokeless tobacco to minors and a ban on the sale of cigarettes in packs of less than 20, so-called “kiddie packs” made cigarettes more affordable for kids and teens.

“This law is a culmination of more than a decade of work to regulate a rogue industry whose business is addiction,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “Every day, 3,900 children pick up their first cigarette and 1,000 children become addicted smokers. This law will help to reduce youth smoking and save lives.”

ACS CAN joined more than 1,000 other organizations in support of this bill.


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