Marian Benjamin

Anyone who treats or cares for patients with COPD or lung cancer (or any sequelae of smoking) should be overjoyed.

On July 30, the House of Representatives passed legislation that will give the FDA the authority to regulate the marketing, production, and distribution of tobacco products.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (HR 1108), which will be presented to the Senate this month, was defeated by the House in 2004—twice. This time the bill had more than 200 sponsors and passed by a large margin on both sides of the aisle.

You can also read about the ways in which tobacco companies lure our young people by reading “Quit It.”

According to the American Lung Association, more than 430,000 Americans die from tobacco-related diseases every year; and 1,300 children become regular smokers each day. It is here that the bill is liable to have the biggest impact, because the FDA will now have the authority to restrict tobacco advertising and promotions—especially to children—and ban candy-flavored cigarettes. Other actions the FDA will now be able to take:

  • Require tobacco companies to disclose the contents of tobacco products and conduct research about the health effects of tobacco products;
  • Require changes in tobacco products, such as the removal or reduction of harmful products;
  • Prohibit health claims about “reduced-risk” tobacco products that might discourage current smokers from quitting and encourage new users to start;
  • Require larger, more effective health warnings on tobacco products;
  • Prohibit misleading terms such as “low-tar,” “light,” or “mild.”

Advisors to President Bush have said they will recommend a veto of the bill should it pass both houses, but advocates are urging the president to support this legislation. You can help by contacting your Senators, urging them to support this bill that can help prevent some of the deadliest diseases and protect our children.

Marian Benjamin
[email protected]