Embracing a Healthy Family: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

A little over one year ago on June 22, the President signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law.  What many people don’t know is that tough new rules on tobacco marketing and sales to kids will went into effect on the week of June 28th

I'm a big supporter of tobacco laws and although I do understand the flip side on how people feel it's an infringement of their rights, I think kids need to be protected.

Tobacco use kills more than 440,000 people each year and costs $96 billion in health care expenditures annually. Today, 3,900 kids will try a cigarette for the first time and 1,000 kids will become addicted, daily smokers. 

Here are the new rules regarding cigarette sales include:
  • No cigarette or smokeless tobacco sales to minors (less than age 18) under federal law for the first time
  • No production or sales of cigarettes with misleading labels such as “light”, “mild” and “low tar”
  • No packaging of smokeless tobacco without larger, stronger warning labels
  • No vending machine sales or self-service displays of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco except in adult-only facilities.
  • No sales of cigarettes in packages of fewer than 20 cigarettes
  • No branded product tie-ins (e.g., T-shirts with brand names or images) with purchases of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products.
  • No branded sponsorships of athletic or cultural events by cigarette or smokeless manufacturers, distributors or retailers.
  • No free samples of any tobacco products, except limited free samples of smokeless tobacco products allowed in temporary adult-only facilities in certain restricted situations.

Guest Post by John R. Seffrin, PhD
Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society and The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

New Law Protecting Kids from Big Tobacco

As a father, I know how hard parents try to protect our kids from danger. I hope all parents join me today in celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over the tobacco industry. With 1,000 children becoming addicted every day and another 3,900 children picking up their first cigarette, this legislation is necessary to safeguard our kids from Big Tobacco’s predatory and deceptive marketing.

The law has already banned the manufacturing and distribution of candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes that were intended to entice kids to start smoking. Beginning this month, the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to minors will be prohibited by federal law and tobacco vending machines will be banned except in adult-only facilities. Additionally, we will see:

  • larger, stronger warning labels on smokeless tobacco products
  • a ban on the use of misleading descriptions such as “light” “mild” or “low-tar” in marketing and packaging cigarettes
  • a ban on all tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and cultural events
  • a ban on virtually all free tobacco samples and giveaways of non-tobacco items, such as hats and T-shirts, with the purchase of tobacco
  • a prohibition on the sale of cigarettes in packs of less than 20. This will eliminate so-called “kiddie packs” that make cigarettes more affordable and appealing to kids.

We expect that with effective implementation, the law will have a huge impact on ensuring that fewer kids start to smoke.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the American Cancer Society’s advocacy affiliate, and its volunteers were strong advocates for this legislation and are working to ensure that the law is implemented as strongly as possible. To find out more about this law and ACS CAN’s efforts, please visit http://acscan.org/protectkids and participate in our Twitter party…

Smoking-related diseases remain the most preventable cause of death in the world. This law will help to deter our kids from smoking. Thank you for being a part of the fight to protect our kids from Big Tobacco. 

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