Obama pledges to quickly sign anti-smoking bill
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Below are the main things the anti-smoking bill would do to diminish cigarette usage and help the health care crisis. Let’s brain storm and think about what we could legislate with a similar bill with meat, dairy, eggs, and refined foods. Food for thought and health??
Excerpts from JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
Under this bill:
• Cigarette packages will have warning labels that cover 50 percent of the front and rear. The word “warning” must be included in capital letters.
• Any remaining tobacco-related sponsorships of sports and entertainment events will be banned, as will giveaways of non-tobacco items with the purchase of a tobacco product. A federal ban will be imposed on alloutdoor tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.
• Point-of-sale advertising will be limited to adults-only facilities, and remaining vending machines will disappear except in places restricted to adults. Retailers who sell to minors will be subject to federal enforcement and penalties.
• Smokers, particularly the younger crowd, will find they can no longer buy cigarettes sweetened by candy flavors or any herb or spices such as strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon or vanilla. Cigarettes advertised as “light” or “mild,” giving the impression that they aren’t as harmful to health, will no longer be found on store shelves.
With an estimated 3,500 young people smoking their first cigarette each day, the ban on flavorings alone could have significant health benefits, said Dr. Adam Goldstein, director of the University of North Carolina Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program.
He said it was not inconceivable that adult smokers, now more than 20 percent of the population, could be reduced to less than 5 percent in 20 years.
Other factors that could cut into tobacco use include the sharp rise in prices — Congress earlier this year approved a 62-cent a pack increase in the federal cigarette tax to pay for a children’s health program — and measures by the states to ban smoking in public places.
New FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said the agency was ready to “roll up our sleeves” to meet the new obligations.
The Senate passed the FDA bill on Thursday by a 79-17 vote and the House followed suit on Friday, with a 307-97 vote.
Marlboro maker Philip Morris USA, the nation’s largest tobacco company, came out in support of the bill, saying it was behind tough but fair regulation. Its chief rivals were opposed, saying that FDA restrictions on new products would lock in Philip Morris’ share of the market.
Costs of the new program will be paid for by a new user fee imposed on the industry. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that assessments could rise from $235 million in 2010 to $712 million in 2019.