Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A year ago today, June 22, 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), which places the regulation of tobacco products under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Under the provisions of this Act, the FDA established the Center for Tobacco Products whose main goals include preventing the initiation of tobacco use among America’s children and adolescents; aiding adults with tobacco cessation; supplying the public with necessary information on the ingredients of tobacco products and the potential harms of using tobacco products; and using the regulation of tobacco products to protect the public from the health burden of tobacco, which is currently the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States.

So what happens today, June 22, 2010?

Today, new restrictions on tobacco product sales and marketing go into effect. These include the banning of descriptors such as “light,” “mild,” and “low” in cigarette and smokeless tobacco labeling and advertisements; larger and more graphic warning labels on smokeless tobacco products and advertisements; and the implementation of the 1996 Rule on Youth Access and Marketing. This rule aims to prevent the use of tobacco related products among America’s youth through regulations that prohibit the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to minors under federal law; ban tobacco related sponsorships of athletic, social, and other cultural events; and prohibit the sale of cigarette packages with less than twenty cigarettes.

And what should we look for in the future?

In the future the FDA is looking to develop tobacco product standards, regulate the introduction of new tobacco products, and place larger and more graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging and advertisements. Until then, the FDA urges states and localities to continue implementing tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation, and coverage for smoking cessation services – all of which have proven to be effective in controlling the use of tobacco.

As Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explains, “Tobacco use is a contributing factor to dozens of diseases and conditions that impact American and accounts for $96 billion each year in health care costs. This groundbreaking legislation is a big investment in prevention that will help all Americans lead healthier lives.”

Read more about the Tobacco Control Act’s One Year Anniversary by clicking here.

Kathryn Burggraf
Tobacco Control Intern
Partnership for Prevention


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