Family Smoking Prevention And Tobacco Control Act Is Necessary Federal Legislation

In National News on April 29, 2009 at 8:13 am

The legislation in the U.S. Congress that would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products will be seeing action in the United States Senate very soon. The time is now to contact Indiana’s two U.S. Senators — Senator Richard G. Lugar and Senator Evan Bayh — and thank them for their previous support of this legislation and to ask them to continue to use their leadership roles in their parties and in the Senate to ensure that this legislation is adopted this year.

Known as the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” this bipartisan legislation would grant the U.S. FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. This legislation passed the House last July 30th by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 326 to 102. Similar legislation passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and had 60 sponsors/cosponsors in the 110th Congress.

Why This Bill Is Needed

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 Americans every year and resulting in $96 billion in health care costs every year. Every day, approximately 3,500 kids will try a cigarette for the first time, and another 1,000 will become new, regular daily smokers. One-third of these kids will eventually die prematurely as a result of their addiction.

Despite tobacco’s huge societal costs, tobacco products are the most unregulated consumer products on the market today; they are exempt from important and basic consumer protections, such as ingredient disclosure, product testing and restrictions on marketing to children.

What This Bill Will Do

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to grant the FDA the authority to regulate the sale, marketing and manufacturing of tobacco products. The bill adds a new chapter to the FFDCA to regulate tobacco products. Tobacco products would not be regulated under the “safe and effective” standard currently used for other products under the agency’s purview, but under a new standard — “appropriate for the protection of the public health.”

The key features of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act are outlined below:

  1. Reinstate FDA’s 1996 Rule — This legislation would require that the FDA’s 1996 Rule, which restricted tobacco marketing and sales to youth, take effect within one year of enactment of the legislation. These regulations:
         – Ban all outdoor tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds
         – Ban all remaining tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and entertainment events
         – Ban free giveaways of any non-tobacco items with the purchase of a tobacco product or in exchange for coupons or proof of purchase
         – Limit advertising in publications with significant teen readership as well as outdoor and point-of-sale advertising, except in adult-only facilities, to black-and-white text only
         – Restrict vending machines and self-service displays to adult-only facilities
         – Require retailers to verify age for all over-the-counter sales and provide for federal enforcement and penalties against retailers who sell to minors
  2. Grant FDA specific authority to restrict tobacco marketing — The Secretary of Health and Human Services would be given authority to develop regulations that impose restrictions on the advertising and promotion of a tobacco product consistent with and to the full extent permitted by the first amendment to the Constitution. These regulations would be based on whether they would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. This authority gives the agency the flexibility to respond to inevitable tobacco industry attempts to circumvent restrictions.
  3. Require detailed disclosure of ingredients, nicotine and harmful smoke constituents — Tobacco companies would be required to provide the FDA with information about their products. This information would allow the agency to determine how best to reduce the harm they cause and to better educate the public about the health effects of tobacco use and the dozens of toxic substances in tobacco products. For example, tobacco companies would be required to disclose to the FDA the ingredients in each existing tobacco product by brand and by quantity in each brand, including all smoke constituents. They must also inform the FDA of any changes to the product.
  4. Allow FDA to require changes to tobacco products to protect the public health — FDA would be granted authority to require changes in current and future tobacco products, such as the reduction or elimination of harmful ingredients, additives and constituents, if it decided that these changes would protect public health. FDA would be granted authority to change nicotine yields; only Congress could ban nicotine from the product.
  5. Strictly regulate “reduced harm” products — This legislation would prohibit the use of descriptors, such as “light,” “mild” and “low” to characterize a product on labels or in advertising. In addition, a manufacturer must first file an application and receive an order before they market any tobacco product as presenting a “modified risk.” FDA would have authority to review the marketing of such products and determine if the applicant demonstrates that the product, as actually used by consumers, will significantly reduce harm and the risk of tobacco-related disease to individual tobacco users and benefit the health of the population as a whole – taking into account both users of tobacco products and persons who do not currently use tobacco
  6. Require bigger, better health warnings — This legislation would require stronger, more specific health warnings. The House passed bill would require health warnings to cover the top 30% of the front and rear panels of the package and would give FDA the authority to issue regulations to require graphic warning labels and to increase the size of warning labels to cover 50% of the front and rear panels of the package. The Senate Committee passed bill would require warning labels to cover the top 50% of the front and rear panels of the package and require FDA to issue regulations two years after enactment to create graphic warning labels. Under the legislation, warnings must bear the word “warning” in capital letters and 17-point type, the FDA would be empowered to revise labeling requirements including text and format size, and the same warning labels would be required in advertising and must comprise at least 20% of the advertisement’s area. The authority to revise the labels would allow the agency to require labels based on the best available evidence of effectiveness without new action by Congress.
  7. Fund FDA activity through a user fee on manufacturers of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco, allocated by market share — The legislation allocates payment of all tobacco product-related FDA costs among the manufacturers of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products sold in the United States, based on the manufacturers’ respective shares of the entire U.S. tobacco product market.
  1. Why not rather switch to new invention of Esmoking.

  2. Esmoking has not undergone rigorous, peer-reviewed testing, so there is no satisfactory evidence of its safety or effectiveness.

  3. There is a need to enforce all the provisions that are in the tobacco control legislation. The attached link to this paper is evidence of this.
    Full Text:

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