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FTC Acts to Prevent Tobacco Industry Deception About Tar, Nicotine Levels; Congress Should Go Further by Giving FDA Authority Over Tobacco Products
Date:7/8/2008

WASHINGTON, July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

The Federal Trade Commission today has taken important action to protect public health by proposing to prohibit tobacco companies from claiming that cigarette tar and nicotine ratings are based on an FTC-approved testing method or that they are endorsed or approved by the FTC. The proposal warns tobacco companies that they risk legal action by the FTC if they use the current tar and nicotine ratings in a way the FTC finds false or misleading. The proposal withdraws an FTC guidance issued in 1966 that permits statements concerning tar and nicotine yields if they are based on a smoking machine test known as the Cambridge Filter Method, commonly called "the FTC method."

While today's FTC action is important, it will not by itself end the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing of "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes and underscores the need for Congress to take comprehensive action by enacting pending legislation to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco products. The FTC's action would not explicitly prohibit the tobacco companies from continuing to make statements regarding tar and nicotine levels and would not immediately ban deceptive cigarette descriptions such as "light" or "low-tar."

The legislation before Congress would ban terms such as "light," "mild" and "low-tar." It would also grant the FDA the authority to strictly regulate any health claims about tobacco products to ensure they are scientifically proven and are not marketed in ways that encourage new smokers to start or discourage current smokers from quitting. The FDA would also have authority to require new testing methods to more accurately measure levels of tar, nicotine and other constituents in tobacco products, to use this information to require changes in tobacco products and to decide whether
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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