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Pennsylvania Department of Health Applauds New Federal Anti-Tobacco Law
Date:6/22/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Department of Health today commended President Barack Obama for signing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the Federal Drug Administration, or FDA, the authority to regulate tobacco.

"This is a great day for the health of all Americans," said Secretary of Health Everette James. "This legislation will allow the FDA to reduce nicotine levels and harmful chemicals in cigarettes while also putting an end to the tobacco companies' marketing practices targeted at addicting children and teens to cigarettes. I hope this new law encourages many Pennsylvanians to take the steps necessary to quit."

In addition to giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, with the cost to be paid by fees on tobacco manufacturers and importers, the bill requires public disclosure of cigarette ingredients, limits cigarette advertising, requires health warnings to cover at least half of each side of a cigarette package and puts the burden on manufacturers to verify health claims.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death. According to a recent study, approximately 20,000 Pennsylvania adults die annually from smoking-related causes and the health care costs associated with smoking-related illnesses are staggering. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, annual healthcare costs directly caused by smoking amount to $5.19 billion for Pennsylvania annually.

Currently, nearly 21 percent of adults in Pennsylvania smoke. In addition, 18 percent of Pennsylvania's high school students smoke, while 18,400 kids under the age of 18 become new, daily smokers in Pennsylvania every year.

The average smoker makes between five and eight quit attempts before being successful, and those who have support are more likely to succeed. For information about the state's cessation resources, call Pennsylvania's Free Quitline, available 24 hours a day, at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or visit www.determinedtoquit.com. A Spanish-language version of the site is at www.estoydecidido.com.

The Department of Health's anti-tobacco efforts are intended to help individuals to quit -- or never start -- using tobacco products, curb the retail sale of tobacco to minors and protect all Pennsylvanians from exposure to tobacco smoke pollution.

Under the Clean Indoor Air law that took effect last September, smoking is prohibited in most public places and workplaces across Pennsylvania.

    CONTACT:  Stacy Kriedeman
    (717) 787-1783



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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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