Today is the two year anniversary of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act). In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s attempt at regulating the tobacco industry was denied by the Supreme Court, who declared that Congress’s approval was needed. In 2009, the House and Senate approved the Tobacco Control Act and it was signed by President Obama on June 22nd to allow regulation of tobacco manufacturing, marketing, and sales.
The Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA certain authority over tobacco products in order to reduce tobacco use by adolescents and to protect overall public health. In just two years, the FDA has already instituted significant provisions. One such provision was the FDA’s prohibition of tobacco companies’ use of the words “light,” “mild,” or “low” on tobacco products. Tobacco products with such labels as “mild” or “light” lead smokers to believe they are less harmful than “regular” tobacco products. By banning these terms, the FDA hopes to impact public health and increase motivation to quit smoking. Additionally, under the Tobacco Control Act, tobacco companies are no longer allowed to offer branded sponsorship to athletic, educational, or cultural events.
The FDA’s most recent exercise of power under this Act occurred just yesterday, with the unveiling of nine graphic warning labels to appear on every pack of cigarettes. These labels are meant to deter smokers of all ages with imagery and captions stating the various harms of smoking cigarettes.
Since its establishment two years ago, the Tobacco Control Act has been a beneficial tool for the FDA to reduce tobacco use across the United States, and will continue to be utilized in order to promote health and save lives.
Tobacco Control Team