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Health Organizations Cheer Senate Vote on Tobacco Control
Date:6/11/2009

Legislation to let FDA regulate tobacco manufacturing and marketing called long overdue

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Senate's historic vote late Thursday to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration control over tobacco products brought cheers from health organizations across the country.

The legislation "will finally put an end to Big Tobacco's despicable marketing practices that are designed to addict children to its deadly products," said John R. Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

"Senate passage of the 'Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act' has the potential to reduce the scourge of tobacco products, which kill more than 400,000 Americans every year," he added.

The bill, already passed by the House and now headed to a bipartisan committee for reconciliation before it gets President Obama's signature, authorizes the FDA to set levels for nicotine and other cigarette ingredients, and requires tobacco makers to list the contents of their products. It also requires the FDA to approve any new products in much the same way that it now does with drugs and medical devices. And it gives the FDA the authority to require stronger warnings on cigarette packaging.

Speaking for the American Heart Association, CEO Nancy Brown said, "The U.S. Senate has taken a bold and courageous step to ensure a healthier future for our children.…The legislation will allow us to protect them from a dirty business that has infiltrated school grounds and homes for many generations," she added. "Too many graveyards are marked by the consequences of the industry's actions. With each puff of a cigarette, smokers increase their risk for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, and Big Tobacco's irresponsible marketing campaigns have made it increasingly difficult to break the cycle of addiction and save lives."

Dr. Douglas W. Blayney, president of
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