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Public Statements

Stop Tobacco Smuggling in the Territories Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support H.R. 338, the ``Stop Tobacco Smuggling in the Territories Act of 2013,'' which adds previously uncovered American territories to the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act.

Specifically, H.R. 338 provides that American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and Guam will be covered by the current Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act, which makes it illegal to knowingly ship, transport, receive, possess, sell, distribute, or purchase 10,000 or more contraband cigarettes that do not have a state or territorial tax stamp.

Currently, only the 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are covered by the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act.

We all understand the dangers associated with cigarette smoking and its prevalence in the United States. This bill seeks to treat the aforementioned territories like any other state when it comes to trafficking.

Roughly 23 percent of American adults and 30 percent of adolescents are current smokers. Every day, 3,500 minors try smoking for the first time, one thousand of whom go on to become regular, daily smokers. Moreover, more than 15.5 million children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined, with thousands more dying from spit tobacco use.

About one of every five American deaths is related to smoking, or about 400,000 Americans each year. Tragically, about 50,000 adult nonsmokers in the nation die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke.

More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, car accidents, suicides, and murders combined.

More than 8.6 million Americans currently suffer from smoking-caused illness, and over six million Americans under the age of 18 who are alive today are estimated to ultimately die from smoking. In addition, smokers lose an average of 13 to 14 years of life because of their smoking.

We must do more to dissuade people from smoking.

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