The FDA regulates so many foods and drugs that many people don’t know that tobacco products have not been regulated. Well as of Monday, that changed. President Obama signed historic legislation that regulates what goes into tobacco products, and makes the ingredients public. It also prohibits marketing tobacco to children.President Obama lamented the first time he smoked as a teen, saying that he has spend much of his adult life fighting the habit.
Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association of South Carolina, June Dean, says this progress comes after a 10-year battle with the tobacco industry. She says the new regulations will go very far in reducing smoking and related illnesses in the U.S., and result in fewer children and teens smoking as well as adults. “It will prohibit cigarettes geared toward kids, like those flavored with grape, peppermint or peach. It will require much larger health warning labels on cigarettes. Tobacco companies will be prohitbited from making health claims, like light cigarettes being less harmful to a smoker’s health.”
Almost 90 percent of smokers started at age 18 or younger. Dean says companies will be required to tell what chemicals are put in cigarettes. “We’ve long known that there many cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes and cigarette smoke.”
Dean says tobacco marketing campaigns are dangerous and contribute to kids smoking before, if not long before, they reach their 18th birthday. “Absolutely. You know kids usually try tobacco for the first time when they’re 11, 12 or 13. And they’re addicted to cigarettes by the time they’re adults. ”
Dean says smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. “Well over 400,000 people die in this country each year from smoking-related diseases. More than 1,000 American kids begin smoking each day. It’s big business.”
The regulation process will be paid for using user fees from the tobacco industry.