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MT Health Groups Praise FDA Regulation of Tobacco

June 12, 2009

Helena, MT – Tobacco products may soon include a complete list of ingredients, and tobacco manufacturers would no longer be allowed to sell candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes. Congress approved those and other changes in a proposed tobacco product control law Thursday. President Obama has promised to sign the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which would put tobacco products under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration.

Cliff Christian, government relations director for the American Heart Association in Montana, says the law would lead to important changes in tobacco marketing, and more education for tobacco users and potential users.

"The ingredients would be actually shown on the box so smokers know exactly what’s in there, such as the rat poison and ammonia. People will understand exactly how lethal tobacco and cigarettes are."

Chris Sherwin, vice president of advocacy for the American Heart Association-Pacific Northwest, says tobacco products will no longer receive special treatment when it comes to protecting public health.

"The law would put tobacco into a class just like we regulate all other consumer products. Prior to this bill’s passage, tobacco has been exempted from any regulation."

The law had been in development for ten years and had been strongly opposed by the tobacco industry, which cites ingredients as trade secrets.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT