WASHINGTON – The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act – groundbreaking legislation to help protect children and adults from our nation’s most deadly habit – is expected to be signed by President Obama after winning approval in the House and Senate this past week.
According to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the bipartisan legislation will, among other things, give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority and resources to:
• Restrict tobacco ads and promotions, especially to children.
• Stop illegal sales of tobacco to children.
• Require large, graphic health warnings that cover the top half of cigarette packs.
• Ban misleading claims such as “light” and “low-tar.”
• Strictly regulate all health claims about tobacco products to ensure they are scientifically proven.
• Require tobacco companies to disclose the contents of tobacco products.
• Require changes in tobacco products, such as the removal or reduction of harmful ingredients or the reduction of nicotine levels.
Funds needed for the FDA’s new role in regulating tobacco will come from a user fee on tobacco companies.
“The Christian Action League has been in support of this legislation for a long time,” said the Rev. Mark Creech. “It has never made sense to us that the organization that can approve or reject the labeling on a box of cereal or halt the production of a new flavored cough medicine would have no say over how tobacco is marketed.”
The bill passed despite opposition from North Carolina’s U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan.