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June 21st, 2010
10:23 AM ET

FDA cracking down on tobacco marketing, sales to kids

By Cristina Hernandez
CNN Medical Producer

Stricter new rules limiting the marketing and sales of tobacco products targeting young people go into effect Tuesday, the first anniversary of the landmark Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act.

Banned are the sale or marketing of candy or fruit-flavored cigarettes, to limit attraction to children; the sale of cigarettes anyone under age 18;  and use of the  words "light," "mild" or "low-tar" on cigarette labels.

Among adult tobacco users, 80 percent  started smoking as teens, and  35 percent were daily smokers by age 18, according to the American Cancer Society.

"I think it's very important in this age of health reform that people understand that smoking is an expense that we can prevent,” says Dr. Elizabeth Ross, an American Heart Association spokesperson and cardiologist at Washington Hospital Center.  “Tobacco use increases health expenses to $96 billion a year. Also keep in mind that nicotine is a drug with a variety of health effects, it raises your heart rate, lowers the oxygen levels in the blood, affects the blood vessels, alters your cholesterol profile, damages your arteries and causes blood clots.”

The American Heart Association says tobacco accounts for about 400,000 of the 2.4 million deaths a year. It’s also the number one preventable cause of death of both men and women in the United States."

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soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. seattlite

    The FDA should just ban the sales of all tobacco products. They are addictive dangerous drugs. We should not let the attempted payoff by the tobacco companies stop us. If the FDA does it fast and in secret we will be able to get most people to stop using these horrible drugs by breaking their addiction.

    June 21, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Annexian

    Oh, thank you, Reptile overlords, for protecting us from ourselves. So we can be your sniveling, fearful slaves and have a long productive life of making you even more money.

    June 21, 2010 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Guy Montag

    It seems like most people who smoke cigs think that they are only hurting themselves, not the environment, the economy (long term health treatments) and those around them.

    Every single person that I know who smokes cigs or has smoked cigs regularly had parents or a parent that smoked as well.

    And of course there is the question of why cigs and alcohol are legal but Weed isn't. I myself used to smoke somewhat but stopped after a year or so and don't feel the desire to start up again, but there really is no counterargument to the point that if cigs and alcohol are legal, then weed should be too.

    June 21, 2010 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Larry

    The total cost of smoking is nearly 1 trillion $$$. 96 billion is but a fraction of the cost. Banning tobacco would be a great idea please save us from ourselfs. If you want to die from something die in your bed at 90 years old. The smoker doesnt even come close to paying these cost if he/she did a pack of smokes would be about $50.
    Have a nice day

    June 21, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ernesto Moreno

    Alcohol and Tobacco Products are addictive drugs, They are the #1 and #2 worst drugs in the world that kill more people every day then all other drugs combined yet they are the only legal drugs...Could that be because of the Profit Margin.
    The medical industry would have us believe that they want Smoking banned yet will be the first ones to back off if banning Smoking meant they would lose all that tax revenue from the sale of cigarettes.

    Can we say Hypocrites!!!

    June 21, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. tron777

    Make all tobacco illegal. I am sick of hearing the pathetic addicts make excuses, Lets stop them now!

    June 21, 2010 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Justin from New Jersey

    If the government truly wants to reduce tobacco usage by minors, there is a simple solution. Pass legislation making the possession of tobacco products by minors illegal, along the same lines as is done with alcohol. Right now, it is against the law to sell tobacco products to minors, but there is no laws against the possession of tobacco by minors.

    An outright ban on flavored cigarettes does nothing to reduce underage smoking. Kids generally obtain cigarettes from local gas stations or convenience stores that will sell without checking ID. And you generally don't find clove or other flavored cigarettes at the 7-11....you need to go to a dedicated tobacco shop, where the sale of tobacco products are the main source of income, and where checking ID is usually much more stringent.

    If I, as an adult, wish to smoke flavored cigarettes, then I should be able to buy them. Instead, a feel-good law "for the children" - but which will have no effect on reducing underage tobacco use - prevents me from doing so, and prevents a tobacco shop from generating income.

    This law is pointless.

    June 21, 2010 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Shawn

    I agree completely that smoking does indeed hurt users, others and the economy. I'm also a smoker. It's an addiction like none other. I know it's possible for me to quit but it's also difficult because day in and day out, I am around other smokers. i believe it would help myself and a lot of other people out immensely if the US Army banned smoking on all posts. That would prevent me from smoking and all of those around me from smoking. I know for a fact, people aren't going to go through the trouble of driving off post to light up. However, the government banning smoking entirely, well, I don't see that happening unless it ends up getting scheduled with other narcotics but with weed on it's way to becoming legal most likely, we'll just have more voices saying tobacco needs to be legal too.(If it were ever outlawed).

    June 21, 2010 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. spiffypants

    seattlite, Outlaw cigs...stupid idea. You think people should be thrown in prison for smoking? And it will just drive cigs into the black market so criminals make money off of smokers, instead of a private company and the Government. Look what the prohabition of marijuana has gotten us. Criminal drug rings in Mexico and countless non-violent users thrown in prison. Just because it is not legal, doesn't mean people are going to quit smoking. There are still heroine addicts and it's not legal!

    And by the way, obesity kills just as many people as smoking and I don't see the government telling McDonalds they can't sell Happy Meals because it is making kids unhealthy.

    June 21, 2010 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mase

    I have never once responded to anything online but I believe this deserves to be my first. The American government has already gone way too far in the interjection of the values of the ruling populace in to common society. How far do they need to go before it becomes despotic? Taxing soda now? How far are we willing to let the government intervene in our decisions before we say enough? How many lifestyle choices can we let them make for us? First of all, let me respond to Seattlite. That is a cute title for someone from Seattle but maybe you should go back to your hippie commune and let the everyone who lives in the real world make decisions for themselves. Who are you to tell other people not to smoke, and not to tell them, but to force it in to illegality so that everyone must quit. Your plan is to make it illegal overnight? What about legislation, voting? Saying that alone clearly shows how utterly unintelligent you are with no knowledge of how the real world works, probably because you live in a hippie commune. By the way, did I mention your a hippie and your worldview is distorted by too much tofu? You can't just slip that law in the backdoor and hope no one notices. Secondly, do you remember a little part of American history called the Prohibition? I think it involved something with high crime rates, overdosing due to unmoderated spirits? It's one thing to have marijuana be illegal and stay illegal because no one is used to having it around. But one people become accustomed to tobacco, especially as it is addictive, what do you think is going to happen when it all of a sudden becomes illegal? No one will try to get it of course because the government knows best for them. With such a lucrative opportunity nobody would dream of smuggling it in. And of course, as with all illegal substances, there is no chance of violence. Anyone who actually believes tobacco should be made illegal clearly needs a learning curve. As a smoker, I believe this witch hunt has gone on too long. Everybody in the US knows exactly how dangerous smoking is, even 10 year olds. And if you are so ignorant that after years of smoking you don't know the dangers then you should probably just get cancer anyways. It's called evolution, although I doubt Seattlite believes in that either because they don't teach it on his hippie commune. To be cliche, America is supposed to be the land of the free, however, idealist and crusaders are making it their business to impose what they think is right on every single person. It is an obvious abuse of power. Yes, I am a smoker, I know it is bad for the environment, myself, and probably some others. However, I know all of this and I make the decision to smoke. Am I crazy? Dumb? Selfish? Probably the last two, but as an American it is my civil rights to be so.

    June 21, 2010 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. AZ Nirvana

    Well we can thank William Hurst for almost single handedly making Marijuana illegal.

    Hurst printed on regular paper for all of his publications, many other competitors printed on Hemp. Neeless to say Hurst was the heaviest hitter in the print world and basically threw money at distorting what Marijuana does or could be used for. His effort not only caused many publications to fall by the wayside but also the continuous lobbying which over time and mis-information cause it to be condemned.

    I am not a weed smoker nor a tobacco smoker. Nobody will ever say smoking anything is "healthy" but alcohol in my opinion is THE most dangerous of all 3. Followed by Tobacco. You NEVER hear of anyone dying from Marijuana unless it has other "ingredients". It is no more a "gateway drug" than any painkiller or anything else. Oh yeah, dont forget it is not chemically addictive unlike the others.

    That is FACT.

    June 21, 2010 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. John N Florida

    You had me 'til you threw this in: "If the FDA does it fast and....... in secret........ we will be able to get most people to stop using these horrible drugs by breaking their addiction."

    As far as all the believers in 2nd hand smoke and it's harmful effects, the same legal eagles that thought that one up are the ones who tell you that you can't get high if you're in a car where everyone is smoking marijuana except you.

    Makes you wonder about the validity of the research and the attorneys/politicians who interpret it.

    June 21, 2010 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. jimmy

    why hasnt the FDA banned and seeked legal action against compaines who make and distribute and sell cigarettes ?? if were any other Food or Drug listed.. its banned and labled a poison ... i guess they arnt as much a health risk??

    c/p “Tobacco use increases health expenses to $96 billion a year. Also keep in mind that nicotine is a drug with a variety of health effects, it raises your heart rate, lowers the oxygen levels in the blood, affects the blood vessels, alters your cholesterol profile, damages your arteries and causes blood clots.”

    The American Heart Association says tobacco accounts for about 400,000 of the 2.4 million deaths a year. It’s also the number one preventable cause of death of both men and women in the United States." // end quote)

    dont forget about the health care and deaths in other countries either where this posin is sold .....

    it seems to be legal for some companies to get away with poising people...

    and why do i have to search ( tobacco ) to now find this article... ?? guess its not an issue any longer posted June 21, 2010

    or not being veiwed by many ??

    June 21, 2010 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Andrew

    Actually there is an argument that weed can't be as easily detected for purposes of impaired driving. I won't make it b/c I tend to agree, but that is completely off topic.

    People that smoke are only hurting themselves if they smoke responsibly. If you smoke outside, there is no study proving a link of any increased health risks to others because the smoke isn't condensed enough to do any harm. The economic argument is complete crap. For every study showing increased health costs, there is one showing decreased costs because lung cancer patients and heart attack victims die quickly and younger, thus eliminating long-term care that our elderly have. Then there are the jobs created by tobacco giants...so yeah, the economy argument has to at least be a wash. Finally, the FDA shouldn't even be regulating this. That was the reason for ATF. the FDA is supposed to regulate medicine, not things we know are bad for you. seattlite wants to quickly and secretly ban all tobacco products. Yeah, great...I'm sure nothing you do in your life is counterproductive. what do you people not understand about letting people make their own, informed choices? If you want to give them information, give it to them. I am so tired of people trying to control every aspect of other people's lives when it has no affect on you. By the way, I don't smoke.

    June 21, 2010 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jay

    What words will the reptile overlords let them use now that they can't use light or mild?

    June 21, 2010 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. someguy

    Not sure how any of these new regulations will prevent teens from smoking. Tobacco Co's are going to have to use a color system now. The teens I know identify more w/ colors than the word light or medium. I must say nothing is more appealing to a 16 year old then the marketing ploy "low tar". Everyone knows "low tar" is code word for "cool"

    June 21, 2010 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Chris Hess

    Been smokin for over 25 years now... wish I never started,,, and now that cigarettes are almost $8.00 a pack, I spend $350.00 a month on this horrible habit... I dont have the energy that I should, I get winded easily and my teeth have a yellow hue..... It is great that they are targeting the young folks to keep them from starting..... that being said... I think i need to go grab a smoke....

    June 22, 2010 at 07:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. AZ Nirvana

    As much as I think the government puts it fingers in cookie jars they should not, I leave you with this.

    Does taxing soda and such fall into the above, technically yes. But the big picture is that we as a country as in serious economic crisis when it comes to public schooling. Has it ever been close to perfect...no...but when we literally are laying off teachers because our Gov has decided it finds car companies who mismanaged themselves on so many levels deserve a bail out and they go overlooking the fact places that cannot guarantee we have enough supplies, teachers and programs involving arts, music, and creative thinking do not is frightening.

    Here is AZ we agreed to let AZ tax our food one single penny in order to help the deficit in the school systems. I know I would want my kid to have equal opportunity chances to learn music or to paint and all of the "electives" we cut first.

    On a side note, schools ALWAYS make room for large expensive sports programs, which I think should stay as well but really when it all boils down, you graduate and then unless you are Joe Montana or Michael Jordan...playing high school sports means nothing but an experience. Not everyone is an athlete and not everyone is the next Beethoven or Michelangelo. The point is opportunity, which is quickly diminishing.

    Very sad.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kyle B

    Well I for one am a smoker and a former employee from Big Tobaaco. Get off your high horses and do some research. Do you know that Big Tobacco is the highest taxed industry in the USA. Without Big Tobacco, where does the newfound income come from. Higher taxes on your wages? Higher property taxes? Perhaps a higher sales tax on your purchases. Rest assured, the governement is fullly aware of the addiction of nicotine, and banks on us smokers footing your bill, through higher taxes.

    June 22, 2010 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Al Capone

    After decades upon decades of the War on Drugs in which thousands upon thousands of lives have been lost or ruined and countless billions of tax dollars wasted, it is lamentable that there are still those of you who believe that, as a social policy, prohibition works.

    You simply cannot just write down a law and order millions of people to stop using substances that they, as individuals, have chosen to ingest and then expect complete obedience. It is madness to believe that the government can write off an entire market because it contradicts a puritan ideology.

    Prohibiting tobacco would result in a massive new influx of money to criminal organizations that are already wreaking havoc upon Mexican and American territory with their ability to market prohibited drugs to millions of willing consumers. The evidence is clear and it is in all your faces, citizens – drug prohibition does not work. It has not worked with alcohol, it will never work with marijuana, and it will most certainly not work with tobacco.

    Nothing will be simple about eliminating the failed policy of drug prohibition. The drug cartels and the composition of the current legal infrastructure make it a daunting task. But it must be acknowledged that the system, such as it is, has failed. Like communism, American drug policy runs contrary to human nature and thus it retains no chance of success. This "radical" idea of today will be considered the common sense of tomorrow.

    June 23, 2010 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Brian

    to hell with the government for telling us what we can put into our bodies and who can sell us what.

    June 23, 2010 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. bob cordero

    on the banning of cigarettes in San Francisco if its getting to the point of a medical problem for the people ,then why dont they just ban the growers from growing it since all it does is kill people, if it was that bad why were these cigrettes put in our c-ration when I was in the military,they have alot of indian smoke shops around especially in Nevada, are they going to stop the indians from selling?smokers have rights to . Why not just ban every thing that kills people.

    September 15, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
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