WASHINGTON, June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
On the first anniversary of the new law giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products, we applaud U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd for his leadership in passing this law and his continuing fight to protect America's children and health from the devastating toll of tobacco use. Senator Dodd has supported strong enforcement of the tough new rules on the marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products that take effect today.
Senator Dodd has been a long-time champion of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and led the fight for the legislation on the Senate floor and in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee last year. He has provided extraordinary leadership in this historic effort to protect our children from tobacco addiction and save lives.
President Obama signed the landmark law on June 22, 2009. Until this law was enacted, tobacco products had escaped regulation despite being the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Today, several key provisions of the law are taking effect. These new rules crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids and ban misleading cigarette labels such as "light," "mild" and "low-tar" – terms that have been used to deceive the public and discourage smokers from quitting by falsely portraying some cigarette brands as safer than others. In addition, the law now requires larger, bolder health warnings on smokeless tobacco products and advertising. Large, graphic warnings for cigarette packs and advertising are being developed and will take effect later.
The FDA has already banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes that appeal to kids. This has eliminated cigarettes in flavors such as toffee, mocha mint, lime, vanilla and strawberry that the tobacco companies introduced in recent years.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people annually and costing $96 billion in health expenditures. In Connecticut, tobacco use annually kills about 4,700 people and costs the state $1.6 billion in health care bills. About 4,000 Connecticut kids become regular smokers each year.
Senator Dodd's consistent leadership in the fight against tobacco will help save lives and reduce the terrible toll of tobacco.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids