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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin Supports New Provisions of FDA Tobacco Law

June 2010

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) discussed provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act at a press conference held at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center on Northwestern University's Chicago campus. These provisions, which go into effect today, June 22, will prevent kids from picking up the deadly habit of smoking, help current smokers quit, and save many lives, said Durbin. "The common sense reforms enacted by this law will finally end decades of tobacco industry deceit and targeting of children as 'replacement smokers,' " Durbin said. "Congress and the President took a giant step forward last year in protecting our kids and safeguarding Americans' health by giving the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate the manufacture, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The provisions going into effect continue that progress."

Durbin was joined at the news conference by Jyoti Patel, MD, and other non-smoking advocates. Patel, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Associate Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an oncologist on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, described the "enormous toll lung cancer exacts on our nation. Every year more Americans die from lung cancer than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Legislations such as this important measure will help us decrease smoking rates and lessen the burden of this tragic disease."

The new provisions prohibit terms like "light," "low," and "mild" in advertising and labeling of cigarettes and smokeless products, require larger, stronger warning labels on smokeless tobacco packages and ads, strengthen restrictions on the sale of tobacco products to minors, and curtail marketing tools tobacco companies use to hook new smokers. More than half of daily American smokers—including nearly two thirds of women who smoke—say they smoke brands marketed (added ED) as "light" or "ultra-light." Many smokers erroneously believe that using these products help reduce the risks from smoking. "The use of these words has been one of the most harmful consumer frauds of all time and tomorrow we will finally remove these deceitful terms from cigarette packages and ads," Durbin said.

(Last updated on June 21, 2013 )