HARTFORD – As Connecticut lawmakers continue to debate a proposal that would end the sale of flavored tobacco in the state, leading public health organizations are calling on the legislature to reject the current language, which is rife with dangerous loopholes.
Decline in Adult Smoking Rates Stalls for Second Year
Statement of Daniel E. Smith, President, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- November 8, 2007 -- "A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) article published today shows adult smoking rates have remained stagnant for the second year following seven years of steady decline. The findings reinforce the need for Congress to fight tobacco use more aggressively by raising the federal tobacco tax and giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco production and marketing practices.
"Congress is considering two measures that would significantly decrease tobacco use in this country. The first bill would give the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products, and would rein in the tobacco industry’s egregious manufacturing and marketing practices. The legislation would restrict tobacco advertising and promotions, stop illegal sales of tobacco products to children and require tobacco companies to disclose the contents of tobacco products. Claims of reduced harm cigarettes, which adults are falsely misled to believe are less harmful but are not proven to lower disease risk among smokers, would be strictly regulated.
"The unregulated tobacco industry spending on advertising totals nearly $40 million every day much of it directed at children. Four thousand kids try their first cigarette every day, and the industry’s first objective is to make sure they become addicted and become the customer base of the future.
"Tobacco products, which kill 440,000 Americans every year, have gone unregulated for far too long. Today the industry is free to market its deadly products to kids, mislead the public about the harm of tobacco use and purposefully manipulate the ingredients in cigarettes to increase the likelihood of addition. Congress needs to move forward with the FDA legislation and the President needs to sign it into law.
"Another important bill to pay for important children’s health insurance with a 61-cent increase in the federal tobacco tax passed both houses of Congress and was vetoed by the President. The 61-cent tobacco tax alone would prevent 900,000 tobacco-related deaths, including nearly 600,000 children who would never start smoking. Youth smoking would be reduced by an estimated seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by four percent.
"Finally, we need to fully fund our smoking cessation and prevention programs across the states. Cuts in those programs are harming our efforts to prevent youth smoking and give adults the support they need to quit."
ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
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