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Durbin: Children and Families to Benefit from Landmark Tobacco Legislation

Press Release

Location: Chicago, IL

The Food and Drug Administration will be better able to protect children and their families from harmful tobacco products and tobacco-related illnesses now that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 passed the Senate, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said today.

"The tobacco companies' days of peddling one of the most deadly products in the world have finally come to an end," Durbin said. "With the passage of today's legislation we will begin to reduce the terrible toll tobacco has taken on children and families across the nation."

The legislation restricts the marketing and sale of tobacco products to children; requires tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in their products; gives the FDA power to regulate tobacco products; and requires larger, stronger health warnings on tobacco products.

"This moment has been coming for 20 years," Durbin said. "Now we've given the FDA the tools necessary to protect millions of children and families from deadly tobacco-related diseases. I want to thank my colleagues - especially Senators Kennedy and Dodd - for the passage of this landmark public health legislation."

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 includes specific regulations that would become effective no later than one year after enactment. Provisions include:

* Banning all outdoor tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds,
* Banning all remaining tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and entertainment events,
* Banning free giveaways of any non-tobacco items with the purchase of a tobacco product or in exchange for coupons or proofs of purchase,
* Limiting advertising to black-and-white text only in publications with significant teen readership as well as in outdoor and point-of-sale advertising (except in adult-only facilities)
* Restricting vending machines and self-service displays to adult-only facilities, and
* Requiring retailers to verify age for all over-the-counter sales and provide for federal enforcement and penalties against retailers who sell to minors.

More than 43 million Americans - nearly 1 in 5 - currently smoke. 90% of these smokers began as children. Every day, more than 3,500 kids try smoking for the first time and an additional 1,000 become regular, daily smokers. In Illinois, almost 20% of children smoke, together consuming 34 million packs of cigarettes a year. It is estimated that nearly 317,000 Illinois children alive today will eventually die from smoking related diseases.

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