President to Sign Historic Legislation Putting Children and Public Health Before Big Tobacco

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- June 22, 2009 -- Today the nationwide cancer community celebrates as President Obama is expected to sign legislation into law that will finally put an end to Big Tobacco’s unfettered marketing to our nation’s children. The “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” for the first time grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco products. 

“Forty-Five years after tobacco smoke was first found to be hazardous to health, tobacco products will finally be regulated - products which kill more than 400,000 people in America each year,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “This lifesaving new law has the potential to break the deadly cycle of addiction and put an end to Big Tobacco’s targeting of our nation’s children.”

Tobacco is virtually the only consumable product not regulated in the U.S. The tobacco industry spends nearly $40 million every day to aggressively market its products to addict new, young smokers, keep current users from quitting and mislead the public about the harms of their products. The law will, among other things:

ban candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes that appeal to children
ban outdoor advertising near schools and playgrounds
require tobacco companies for the first time to disclose all ingredients and additives, including the poisons and carcinogens in their products
mandate larger and more effective warning labels on tobacco products which will cover 50 percent of the product packaging and graphic warning labels on packs of cigarettes.  

“Today’s signing culminates an effort of more than a decade to regulate a rogue industry whose business is addiction,” said Daniel E. Smith, president of ACS CAN. “Every day, 3,500 children pick up their first cigarette and 1,000 children become addicted smokers. This law will help to reduce youth smoking and help save lives.”

The FDA is the only federal agency with the scientific expertise necessary to effectively regulate tobacco products, the only legally consumed product which kills when used as intended, and prohibit misleading health claims by the tobacco companies. Moreover, this law provides the FDA with the additional resources needed to ensure effective oversight of the industry. 

ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, joined more than 1,000 organizations, including public health, medical, children’s, and faith-based groups to attract broad, bipartisan support for the bill in Congress. Together, the Society and ACS CAN have led the fight for strong tobacco control policies at the federal, state, and local levels for decades.

We thank President Obama and Congress for making the health of our nation, and especially children, a priority.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit http://www.acscan.org/.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Christina Saull
Phone: (202) 585-3250
Christina.Saull@cancer.org

Alissa Havens
Phone: (202) 661-5772
Email: Alissa.Havens@cancer.org

 

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