WASHINGTON, May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Today's action by the FDA will save lives by finally including cigars, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco and e-cigarettes as regulated products. No form of tobacco use is safe and the rise of smoking among Hispanic youth, particularly use of e-cigarettes, has created a tobacco tipping point that unless reversed will result in a generation of tobacco related disease and early death," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance), the nation's leading Hispanic health advocacy group.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule extending its authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, among others. This rule helps implement the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Before today, there was no federal law prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco or cigars to people under age 18. Today's rule changes that with provisions aimed at restricting youth access, which go into effect in 90 days, including:
- Not allowing products to be sold to persons under the age of 18 years (including online);
- Requiring age verification by photo ID;
- Not allowing selling covered tobacco products in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility); and
- Not allowing the distribution of free samples.
According to data published last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 4.7 million middle and high school students were current users (at least once in past 30 days) of a tobacco product in 2015. Among middle school students, Hispanics were the group most likely to be current tobacco users (10.6%) compared to non-Hispanic white (6.3%) and non-Hispanic black (6.6%) students. The data also showed that e-cigarettes are now the most common tobacco products used among youth and use escalated from 1.5 to 16.0 percent between 2011 and 2015 among high school students.
"Hispanic adults have always had smoking rates below the national average, resulting in lower rates of heart disease and other smoking related illness. However, the data released last month show that Hispanic middle school students are now more likely than their peers to use tobacco. It's a tobacco tipping point, but actions like today's historic move by the FDA will help families reverse this threat to the health of our children and communities," emphasized Dr. Delgado. Dr. Delgado concluded, "If you need support talking to your children about not smoking or you or a loved one needs help quitting, we are here to help. Call our toll-free Su Familia Helpline at 1-866-783-2645. Together we can build a healthier and smoke-free America."
About the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (The Alliance) -- The Alliance is the nation's foremost science-based source of information and trusted advocate for the health of Hispanics in the United States with a mission to achieve the best health outcomes for all. For more information visit us www.hispanichealth.org.
Nuestras Voces (Our Voices) -- Nuestras Voces is a national network of over 100 organizations working for a tobacco-free world and to eliminate disparities in cancer prevention and treatment services. You can be part of this effort being led by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health! Join us at www.nuestrasvoces.org/join.
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SOURCE National Alliance for Hispanic Health