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The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

This article was written by in Consumer. 32 comments.

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

Published or updated June 22, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar The Happy Rock

*Sniff – candy cigarettes are great. I loved them as a kid and even had some a month or so ago. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. I think children are way more effected by the examples being set around them, but some second had marketing. Just my opinion though, although I don’t have much love for the tobacco industry.

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avatar Smithee ♦1,358 (Quarter)

Not cigarette-shaped candy. Actual candy-flavored cigarettes.

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avatar The Happy Rock

That’s good to hear, I was almost beginning to think the government was over extended its power.

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avatar MyJourney

This stuff is so ridiculous – I mean come on. This is just another piece of fluff and BS legislation that someone can say they supported.

Anyone who isn’t aware of the health problems associated with cigs won’t be able to understand the warning label anyway!

And No, I don’t smoke, but I am in favor of a free market

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avatar Olivia @Independent Beginnings

I am actually a pretty big fan of this law. I think smoking is a disgusting habit and I really do not enjoy being around people who are smoking. Also, I just learned the other day that there is a thing called third-hand smoke. This is the smoke that is deposited on fabrics and other materials. Third hand smoke has been shown to cause a higher occurrence of allergies in those who were exposed to it. Smoking affects many more people than just those who smoke.

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avatar sean

using that logic lets outlaw walking around the woods due to the pollen sticking to ur clothes u might make someone sneeze later. i dont smoke but this is bs if i dont like the smell of cigs i walk away. but i dont force my opinions on other people

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avatar Kyle

I think this geared more towards like Mango Camel’s and Bidi type cigarettes with massively fruity flavors that appeal to the younger generations. But still they are just going to move on to something else I don’t know how much help this will actually bring. I hope it does some good though.

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avatar Marc

Phillip Morris wrote large chunks of the legislation, it has spent most of the past 5 years preparing to be regulated by the FDA (very large costs involved), and is in favor of the legislation.

My prediction – it will be in favor of lower nicotine levels.

People will need to smoke more to get the same dose.

If you have delusions this is to help smokers, you are crazy.

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avatar Mike

There’s no such thing as third hand smoke, it’s just another buzz word for 2nd hand smoke. Meaning, you didn’t inhale it directly from the cigarette (which is first hand smoke) so, there’s only one other way to get that, which is second hand.

There’s no need to further destroy our liberties with this legislation to prevent something we can do on our own free will in the first place. If you don’t like being around people who smoke, then don’t hang out with them.

These types of laws are dangerous, because some people will find soft drinks disgusting. So, why not ban those? Too much salt is dangerous, so lets ban that as well! Too much of any one thing is dangerous. Do you see where I’m going with this? Let us choose and take responsibility for ourselves freely. Parents need to properly educate their children, so they can make up their own mind, we don’t need more government regulation to do that for us.

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avatar MyJourney

2 Words: Hell Yeah!

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avatar Jason

I agree. The erosion of our liberties is much more harmful than smoking.

I’ve seen the studies that say larger warning labels increase awareness of the dangers of smoking, but I’m very skeptical that they significantly discourage people from smoking. When I smoked, I, and everybody I met, was well aware of the health risks. When we went outside to smoke, we frequently said, “Hey, let’s go get cancer!” I eventually quit because I hated how I felt in the morning and the money that I spent on cigarettes, not because of some warning label.

I think a big reason Philip Morris is backing this is because other companies are making a killing (no pun intended) by offering smokers choices or flavors. The only flavor PM offers is menthol, which just hapens to be excluded as a flavor. Nice job PM lobbyists.

Let’s ban all soft drinks that aren’t cola flavor. There’s too many kids drinking fruity energy drinks and candy flavored water.

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avatar Eric

I support it. So good for me and sucks for anyone who disagrees. :)

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avatar Jim

I don’t disagree with any of the legislation but I don’t really see it having any kind of real impact. Like MyJourney said, everyone knows by now that smoking is bad for you.

I’d rather see them increase taxes on cigarettes to offset their health costs and give people free help to stop smoking to try and help people stop if they want to.

I don’t know if cutting the amount of nicotine will change much. It might just make people smoke more cigarettes to get the same fix. Thats not really a benefit. Much of the negative health impact of smoking is due to the burning of the tobacco not the nicotine itself. Nicotine itself isn’t even a carcinogen. So cutting the nicotine dose may just cause people to smoke more… and possibly worsen the health consequences. We want people to smoke less not more, right?

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avatar Cassandra

In the state of Kansas, they just bumpped the taxes up. It didn’t do anything but alter my budget. Big whoop. If the nicotine levels are the issue, I guess the patch is going out too. A friend of mine tried shorts, a smaller cigarette of his same brand, it costs the same. he just ended up smoking twice the amount numerically than before.
My grandmother was perscribed cigarettes by her doctor to help manage her Thyroid issues. My grandfather passed away from lung cancer… he never smoked a day in his life.

This peice of legislation is only just a reminder that the Declaration of Independance and the initial Amendments to The Constitution mean nothing. Long live the rights to Life, restricted Liberty and the Pursuit of Other People’s Happiness.

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avatar Andy

More worthless government intrusion in the lives of citizens.

The Nanny States of America

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avatar mutuelle

It sucks when a young kid be found surrounded by smokers and shops which make it easy and present it closer to kids ,for me it’s a good law…

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avatar Jason

It sucks when a young kid be found surrounded by bars with alcohol, restaurants with fatty food, vending machines with sugary drinks and snacks, and shooting ranges with evil guns. I’m waiting for The Family Freedom Prevention and Government Control Act, for me it’s a good law…

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avatar Caitlin

I understand where the aspect of eroding liberties is coming from, but at the same time tobacco companies have gotten out of control. Its easy for adults to say “everyone knows smoking is bad for you,” but do you remember how easily influenced you were at 14? Research shows that kids are 3 times more sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure. It also shows that 1/3 of underage experimenting with smoking is attributed to tobacco company advertising. Did people get this upset when they banned cartoon characters many years ago? Its just another extension of that..
and plus, extending the label on a pack of cigarettes is nothing new, its actually fairly common in other countries.

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avatar Paul

I completely agree with everyone who disagrees about this legislation, as a smoker BY CHOICE and a father of a new born child. First I’m concerned for my rights to enjoy a product that is now going to be FULLY controlled by the federal government as reduced to basically paper wrapped air. Smoking is not something that you do because you see an ad for it what a crock of bull if that’s the case then you should be diagnosed as a hypochondriac. You make the choice to smoke and our children need proper education about smoking not federal regulations and government saying what they can and can not do. The Obama administration is the closest thing the United States has seen to a communist society. Also lets focus on the point that promises made in the campaign are long since gone but lets tackle something smaller so we (the Obama cult) look like the good guys, come on. If you support this act you are weak and pathetic and clearly can not stand up for yourself. If you don’t like smoke don’t be around it, if you don’t want your kids smoking teach them what happens you God forsaken spineless sheep. I bet half the people that agree with this act are the same fools that are glad the “super size” is gone because it made Americans fat and lead to health issues, NO YOU IDIOTS YOU MADE YOU FAT! Poor choices of those in power make for poor choices amongst the people, what a weak sad mindless country this is becoming, granted it’s still way better than oh I don’t know lets say Russia, Cuba, Ethiopia…but look at what we are becoming Makes me sick.

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avatar Sam

Interesting that as a father of a newborn child you are first and foremost concerned with your individual right to enjoy cigarettes over your child’s health and long-term health behaviors (as influenced by poor parental example). Honestly, I think this country could use a bit of socialist thought–might teach us the value of the “greater good” over individual convenience.

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avatar Yana

It is infuriating, isn’t it, Paul? I don’t recall seeing ads for cigarettes, so it must have been REALLY subliminal. Candy cigarettes were fun, but I am not aware of real cigarettes that taste like candy. I do use every form of adblock on all my browsers, but I think I have a built-in adblocker in my brain.

Sam, that is such a low blow of a comment, so common and by this time, more than a little boring. In my little circle, I’m aware of a woman in her early 40s who died of lung cancer after never having smoked, and my closest client/friend just turned 88. At 87, after 60+ years of smoking, she had to get an oxygen tank. Not quite ready to quit smoking immediately, she continued to smoke 1 cigarette every evening, and gave it up completely after a month. Many people die prior to achieving 60 years of life, let alone after 60 years of smoking. I once read the statistics regarding how many smokers become ill or die from smoking, and I wish I could find that info again. It isn’t what the anti-smoking screamers have led the sheep to believe. What I know is from what I have personally seen, as far as cigarettes, smokers and militant anti-smokers. I can’t know more than that, because when people scream at me what I ought to believe or approve of, I dismiss them and their cause.

FDA approval of cigarettes should give smokers second thoughts about continuing to smoke. Vaccines like Gardasil and swine flu are so promoted, it makes me wonder what might be put into cigarettes to enrich them. Because THEY know what is good for us, and now they’ve got one more way to have their way with us.

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avatar Brendan

Paul is easily the smartest person on here.

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avatar Steve

Paul, you rock!!! I’m so furious right now I could crap out the proverbial golden brick. If the government can tell us what we can and can’t do with a legal activity (like smoking) what’s to prevent them from telling us what color underwear to wear on tuesdays? I smoke, but I know others don’t like it, so when I do smoke, I stay away from those who don’t like it. I respect other people’s lifestyles, yet as a smoker, my lifestyle choice is criticized and restricted at every turn. This HAS to stop, or I’m moving to India where I can smoke the cigarette of my choice – the clove, also known as the “Kretek”.

Let’s look at the bright side, if I do move to India, next time you call customer service, you stand a chance of getting me (a native english speaker with no accent) as opposed to someone struggling to read english from a script.

Sam – I don’t smoke around my daughter because she has asthma. Right after I put my cig out, if I go back in the house and hug her, she doesn’t cough, sneeze, or wheeze, but if she comes outside to ask me something while I’m smoking, she coughs. That’s why I smoke away from her. Who’s to say Paul’s situation is any different? He didn’t say he smoked beside his child’s crib, yet that’s basically what you accuse him of.

As far as the ban on flavored cigs, look what happened in Utah in 1923 – they banned smoking, and later REPEALED it. Let’s look at another example – Prohibition of Alcohol. That got repealed as well! Good intentions, but the WILL of the people MUST come before anything else, otherwise, we’re no better than Russia.

God bless the Restricted States of America!!

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avatar Mundy

the president and congress are acting like communists. this is retarded what is happening to america!!! i mean everyone is turning into a bunch of “whoosies” and you know what this is goin to led to less alchol content in beer and liqour and no more 2nd admendment, and censorship every where you go. yeah they’ll say it’s for the kid’s sake and for good intentions. what’s probbaly going to happen is there’s going to be a complete ban on tabacco but one brand of ciggerette’s and it’ll be called “Obama’s choice” it’ll have his picture on it and it’s be one inch lone including the filter and almost no nicotine in it. this is a total infringement on my rigt to smoke. i can understand the whole ad’s near school’s but really bannng flavored ciggarettes and removing the word light from packs yeah i know that there not safer they are less harsher on your lungs when you inhale. and this pisses me off if your a parent and you dont want you kid smoking tell them! and f you catch them smokeing make them eat a pack or a whole damn carton that’s what my parent’s told me was going to happen and i didn’t touch a ciggarette til i was eightteen and out of high school.

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avatar Paul

Thanks Brendan :-)

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avatar Paul

Lol oh silly Sam. Nice shot at me :-) You’re brave :-) Your socialist thought theory is so backwards. You know what the problem with socialism is Sam? Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money and other peoples ideas and when you’re left to stand on your own you have become to weak and dependant on others. I stress again children will make their own choices and need proper education. I grew up around smoke, and did not start until I was in college. We do not need government control, however it’s to late I guess. Also I was educated as to the effects and risks and decided not to smoke as a child, however when I was older and well dumber I made my choice on my own. Please feel free to open a debate here on subliminal messages implanted into my brain as a child by those around me smoking; however I highly doubt you’re a board certified psychologist. To conclude my rant…This is to those of you brave enough to stand for yourself and those around you. To those strong enough to remember what a parent is and our job to our children, those that can fight for our rights and the rights of our children, that have to courage to stand tall and STAND ON OUR OWN FEET, congrats to you all! Keep up the fight and keep up the work you all have done so far, are voices may not be loud independently, but together we are louder than the Gods them selves.

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avatar Keith Rodriques

I started smoking about two years ago at the age of 26 and I was well aware of the risks of smoking. I grew up in a home where both of my parents smoked and too many times my parents warned me of the dangers of smoking. I didn’t start smoking because of flashy advertisements. If children are smoking, it is because of the lack of responsibility, supervision and education provided by adults. The U.S. government differs very little from a successful magician. Many of the country’s politicians, with the president at the helm, are masters of misdirection. There are so many problems that require a greater amount of attention than cigarettes. G.W. Bush shifted the public eye from the stressing economy to the war on terror. Now we have Barack Obama who, has unfortunately been put into a difficult scenario but, needs to focus on the more pressing issues. My point-of-view has not been altered by the smoking of cigarettes. Look at it this way: By supporting this bill as a parent, you’re asking the government to help to control your child. By supporting this bill as a person with no children, you are probably one of the many who feel that you’re better than a smoker. Smokers can be stereotyped as unclean, ignorant, wreckless and/or selfish. I can understand if you don’t want to inhale my smoke. I don’t feel that the government should regulate cigarettes in such a way that, in a majority, affects those that aren’t affected by the reasoning for the bill to begin with. You can add warnings, alter ads, ban “flavors” but one fact remains: Those who want to smoke will smoke, however penalized, including children. This is only a feeble attempt at making it look like progress when it comes to cigarettes. I propose this: The government should stop punishing the consumer of cigarettes while the manufacturer still remains corrupt, wealthy and generally unaffected by such changes. If any changes are to be made, it should just be that nicotine and other pollutants and carcinogens be labelled as illegal drugs. Until then, I should be able to purchase a pack or carton of my Djarum Blacks in peace and smoke them in the comfort of my home. Also, as far as some cigarettes are concerned, I agree that flavorings in cigarettes are wrong. I also feel that if a cigarette, in its raw form, is considered to not have an additive to alter flavor, then it should not be banned. Kreteks are cigarettes and the do have a distinctive flavoring that differs from that of a normal cigarette. These flavors are not added. The tobacco is blended with clove to produce this flavor. Menthol is more of an additive in terms of the manufacturing process. The reason it wasn’t affected is because mainstream tobacco, headed by Phillip Morris, helped to propose this conditional bill that does not affect them. It would had menthol been considered a flavor. Funny how that works. The banning of flavorings, except menthol, to single out such cigarettes is just a ploy, conjured up by politicians and tobacco lobbyists hand-in-hand to create a monopoly centered around mainstream cigarettes. This is the same type of scenario that our government is poised to correct. It’s just given a different name and excuse as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Phillip Morris doesn’t care about america’s youth and neither does the corrupt politician, both with their pockets open wide. Phillip Morris and other major cigarette manufacturers gain exclusivity in the U.S. and the politicians get handsomely rewarded. So, while the government turns your eye from the still suffering economy, the war on terror, health care, education, Social Security or any other prevalent issue in today’s society keep in mind that a decision that benefits you may not always be the same for the majority. By the government making decisions for us, it violates the the very essence of the Constitution of the United States. Granted, there is not a single amendment that grants such liberties but I argue this. When is it the government’s responsibility to step in and tell us what we should and should not do according to what’s good for us as individuals? Especially when the solution to the problem is more an issue stemming from a lack of common sense and education. I am outraged to think that our government believe us to be so naively stupid to believe what they claim is their true intent. I believe that effective planning, including realistic statistics, should govern the legislative process. Politics in general is a field of service to your fellow man. I honestly do not feel any service being performed here with this piece of legislation.

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avatar Steve

Keith –

Whoa, I agree with you 100% and I think you stated even better than what I tried to. Phillip Morris should be banned, not Kreteks!

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avatar Kae

Candy-flavored? I don’t think cappacino-flavored cigarettes counts as candy. Or cloves. But those will be banned too. I’m pretty sure the clove flavor aren’t the reason kids start smoking.

Yes, I’m sore about my clove cigarettes.

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avatar Jeff B.

Reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes is only going to cause consumers to purchase more cigarettes, they will in turn smoke more because they are already addicted to the amount of nicotine they are getting from their cigarettes currently.

This law isnt setting out to help anyone, anyone that is except for the tabacco industry. The tobacco industry will benefit, as will the government as they continuously raise taxes on tobacco products. Once again, taking away more of our choices and freedoms.

I’m wondering just how bad it would be to live in Canada.

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avatar jon

Keith you hit the nail on the head,this bill has absolutly nothing to do with the safty of our beloved American youth, this is all about the almighty dollor. Big Tabacco of America not only supported this bill financialy and legeslativly but also has a represenitive siting on the board of tabacco regulation in the FDA helping to set these regulations. How convienent. Funny how it does not affect them or there brands and infact will increase there revanue 10 fold. This bill sounds good to the uneducated via its name The FAMILY Smoking Prevention and Controle Act but read it more carefully and you will relize its a smoke screen for a bigger agenda Profit Profit Profit. Im all for free enterprise but not at the expence of my rites, politions dont give a shit about our safty or wellbeing, and thay should becouse thay are OUR REPRESENITIVES. Thay clame thay do becouse of the finacial persuasion of corporate and special interest groups, not becouse of the people. If we dont watch it we are going to have more and more of our freedoms striped away from us. Smoking is a personal freedom just like speech, religion and assembly. Maybe when we lose those rites more people like Sam and Olivia will think back to this moment in time and wish thay had beter informed themselves. We need to take back this country from Corporate Dictatorship and fire these greedy polititions and set a new mandate. (The United Represenetives for the People Act) Ban -Finacial Contributions from Individuals,Corporations,and Special Intrest groups of any kind, to any form of Political Party,Seat or Legislation. I bet things would change dramaticly!!!

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avatar jillf

I think people here are overreacting. The person who is calling this “communism” obviously has no idea what communism is. All of our packaged foods and drugs–as well as all manufactured products–tools, cars, etc– are regulated for the public safety. This new law just brings tobacco products under the regulation of the FDA just like everything else. It’s not “communism” or loss of freedom.

As for all those people who “never smoked” but got lung cancer? Lung cancer is not something that prople just come down with for no reason. It is almost always traced to secondhand tobacco smoke, and occassionally asbestos exposure in certain occupations.

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