President Obama Signs Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

Monday, 06 July 2009

More than 400,000 Americans die of tobacco-related illnesses each year. Nearly one third of all fatalities from heart disease - the leading cause of death in the United States – are linked to smoking, making tobacco use the single most preventable cause of heart disease and stroke. More than 8 million Americans suffer from at least one serious illness caused by smoking. In response to these alarming statistics, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act on June 22. This legislation grants authority to regulate tobacco products to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The bipartisan bill gives the FDA authority to regulate the manufacturing, advertising, and promotion of tobacco products in order to protect public health. This includes a ban on tobacco advertising within a thousand feet of schools and playgrounds, special packaging on cigarette cartons that educates smokers about the risks of tobacco usage, and regulations on flavoring and other features that could appeal to youth. Almost 90 percent of current smokers began at age 18 or earlier.

Smoking increases the mortality rates for a variety of diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airways obstruction. Simply stated, there is no safe way to smoke. Although low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes may reduce the risk for lung cancer somewhat, they do not lessen the risk for cardiovascular heart disease. In fact, smoking accelerates atherosclerosis - the depositing of plaques containing cholesterol and lipids on the inner walls of arteries. It also increases the risk for stroke. Quitting smoking sharply lowers the risk, even in the first year and no matter what a person's age. Quitting also reduces the risk for a second heart attack in those who have already experienced one.

With the introduction of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the fact that over half of the United States is protected by smoke-free laws, and a variety of cessation resources available, there has never been a better time to quit smoking and enjoy the health benefits. Find more resources to help you quit smoking. Learn more about how to reduce your risk of heart disease at WhiteHouse.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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