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AACR recognizes 1-year anniversary of tobacco law

WASHINGTON, D.C. The American Association for Cancer Research recognizes the first anniversary of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on June 22, 2009.

The law empowered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the marketing, advertising and manufacturing of tobacco products. Provisions that go into effect today include restrictions on youth access to tobacco products, enhanced warning labels on smokeless tobacco products, and a ban on the use of deceptive terms such as "light" or "mild."

"While most people know that cigarette smoking causes cancer, we need to do a far better job of educating the public about the risks of all tobacco products," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. "In fact, there is sufficient scientific evidence to causally link tobacco use to cancers at 18 different organ sites. For example, smokeless tobacco alone can cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas, and new smokeless tobacco labels will help to deliver that message."

Starting today, smokeless tobacco product labels must be larger, and incorporate messages including that smokeless tobacco is addictive and can cause mouth cancer.

"With nearly a third of all cancer deaths caused by tobacco use, it is imperative that the research community come together to support the FDA in its efforts to establish a science-based framework for evaluating the harms caused by tobacco products," said Chairperson of the AACR Task Force on Tobacco and Cancer Roy S. Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and chief of the section of thoracic medical oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "To fully combat the tobacco epidemic, more research is needed across the spectrum of tobacco use and attendant disease, from tobacco control prevention of initiation, fostering cessation, and countering addiction to preventing, treating and curing tobacco-related disease."

"Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, and I am delighted that the AACR is fully committed to working with the global community to reach the ultimate goal of a tobacco-free world," said AACR President Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Morris Herzstein professor of biology and physiology in the department of biochemistry and biophysics atthe University of California, San Francisco.

On April 13, 2010, the AACR issued an urgent call for immediate action to stem the global tide of tobacco-related death and suffering and to improve public health in a comprehensive policy statement on tobacco and cancer published in Cancer Research, a journal of the AACR. The statement is free and is available at


Contact: Michele Leiberman
American Association for Cancer Research

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