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Health Groups Slam Tobacco Marketing to Women
Date:2/18/2009

eting demands an equally aggressive response from our nation's elected leaders. By granting the FDA authority over tobacco products, the Congress can crack down on the industry's most harmful practices."

The new campaigns are the latest in the tobacco industry's long history of targeting women and girls, the report said.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death among women, killing more than 170,000 women in the United States each year, according to the report. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer of U.S. women, and deaths are not decreasing among women as they are among men, according to cancer statistics released in December. In addition to lung cancer, smoking increases women's and girls' risk of numerous serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, emphysema and many other types of cancer.

"Big tobacco's blatant targeting of women is just an extension of a decades-long campaign of fraud and deception designed to addict children and adults to its deadly products," John R. Seffrin, chief executive of the American Cancer Society and its affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in the news release. "Congress must empower the FDA to regulate tobacco products to put a stop to the harmful practices of an industry that has had free reign for far too long."

Though they're the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., tobacco products are virtually exempt from regulation. That would change if the FDA gains authority over tobacco products, said the health coalition, which is urging Congress to pass legislation expected to be reintroduced by Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

The legislation would:

  • Restrict tobacco marketing that appeals to children
  • Ban misleading health claims, such as "light" and "low tar" and strictly regulate all health claims about tobac
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