Thursday, January 6, 2011

Partnership for Prevention is pleased to submit these comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in regard to required textual warnings and accompanying graphics to be displayed on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements.

Partnership commends the FDA on the development of the new graphic health warnings. We urge the FDA to proceed with the implementation of the warnings without delay. The tobacco industry will inevitably work to impede and overturn the plans for the new health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements, to take effect 15 months after issuance of this final rule. However, it is crucial that the FDA stay the course. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 46 million people (aged 18 years and older) in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. Each day in the U.S., approximately 3,450 young people between 12 and 17 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 850 youth become daily cigarette smokers. These statistics make it clear that more needs to be done to reduce the initiation of tobacco use and the prompt enforcement of this Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act requirement will be a step in the right direction. These graphic health warnings will not only help young people to never start smoking, but also be beneficial in helping adults to quit.

Partnership for Prevention also strongly supports that 1-800-QUITNOW be required on all cigarette packages as a way to offer help to smokers who want to quit. A report released by the North American Quitline Consortium in 2010 showed that the total number of tobacco users accessing quitline services in FY 2009 was 515,000 (representing 1.2 percent of smokers), an increase of 129.7% over the FY 2005 level of 224,000. Quitlines are being used now more than ever so including the national access number on cigarette packages would be a simple and practical way to aid smokers who want to quit.

We thank you for the opportunity to comment on the cigarette warning labels and for your consideration of our views. Please contact David Zauche, Managing Senior Fellow & Senior Program Officer, at (202) 375-7807 or for further information or assistance.


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