A new law signed by the president yesterday gives the Food and Drug Administration the ability to regulate the tobacco industry. The primary focus of the law is to stop cigarette companies from aggressively marketing to children.
To that end, it will soon be illegal to:
- sell candy-flavored and fruit-flavored cigarettes
- put tobacco company logos on sporting, athletic or entertainment events or on clothing and other promotional items
- place outdoor tobacco ads within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds
There are some other changes coming for all smokers, including adults:
- tobacco companies will be prohibited from using terms such as “low tar,” “light” or “mild” – so-called light cigarettes make no difference to a smoker’s health
- cigarette packages will carry larger warning labels, up to 50% of the surface of one side
- depending on the results of upcoming FDA studies, tobacco companies may be required to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes – nicotine is the strongly-addictive stimulant which makes cigarettes a logical part of the FDA’s oversight
To summarize: cigarettes, aside from the candy-flavored kind, aren’t going anywhere, though they may become less addictive.
Lawmakers have been trying to pass this legislation for over a decade. 70% of the House voted in favor, as well as 79% of the Senate.
And according to CNN:
Despite a significant decrease in the percentage of Americans who smoke in recent decades, more than 400,000 Americans still die from tobacco-related illnesses every year, the president noted. Tobacco-related health care costs exceed $100 billion annually.
Obama signs bill putting tobacco products under FDA oversight, CNN, June 22, 2009
Photo by isabel bloedwater