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Advances on the first anniversary of tobacco law (Rep. Henry Waxman)

The new law gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate tobacco products, as well as their advertising and marketing.  Using this new authority, FDA banned candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes, used by the tobacco industry to hook children on tobacco.

And today new regulations take effect banning the use of the terms ‘light,’ ‘mild,’ and ‘low-tar,’ from tobacco advertising, labeling, and marketing.  These terms were designed by the industry to mislead consumers, who often think – incorrectly – that products that carry these labels are less dangerous than other tobacco products.  Other important new rules also take effect today, including:  federal enforcement of the ban on sales to minors; new warning labels on smokeless tobacco that are larger and more prominent; a prohibition on free samples of cigarettes; and a ban on vending machine sales, except in adult-only facilities.

 At a congressional hearing over sixteen years ago, tobacco company executives swore that nicotine was not addictive, and said they did not target our children.  And for years legislation to regulate tobacco was bottled up.  But this Congress and the Obama Administration took action to protect our children from tobacco addiction and its devastating toll of death and disease. 

FDA has done a great deal in the past year to address the grave harm that tobacco inflicts on our nation.  This is just the beginning of what we expect to see in the years ahead.  Moving forward, FDA will continue its important work and will make use of all its authorities, including the ability to require changes to the product itself.  Ten years from now, if the agency does what we have empowered it to do, the landscape of tobacco control – and of our nation’s health – will be vastly improved.


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