Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards today voted to protect our kids and families from the harmful effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the advertising, marketing and manufacturing of tobacco products - giving the FDA the tools it needs to better protect the public health.
"Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death in America," said Rep. Edwards. "With nearly half a million Americans dying from the harmful effects of tobacco each year, and another 8.6 million suffering chronic illnesses, this is a health crisis. Passing this bill is a long-awaited victory to protect the health and well-being of children and families everywhere by monitoring and regulating the sale and advertising of tobacco products. I am, however, disappointed that several important provisions intended to support federal employees and retirees were removed from the final bill. My colleagues and I who represent many of the Nation's federal employees are dedicated to ensuring these provisions are included in future legislation."
H.R. 1256 allows the FDA to develop restrictions on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products. The bill also requires tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in each product and gives the FDA the power to demand changes to those ingredients. The bill requires more specific health warnings and reinstates the 1996 rule restricting the marketing of tobacco products to youth.
"The numbers are staggering; as every day, more than 3,500 young people try a cigarette for the first time while another 1,000 become regular, daily smokers," added Rep. Edwards. "About one-third of these children will die prematurely as a result. This bill gives the FDA the necessary power to prevent tobacco sales to children and educate our youth about the very serious risks of these products."
The bipartisan bill is supported by more than 1,000 organizations, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Phillip Morris USA, the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, as well as, six small tobacco product manufacturers also support the legislation.