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Rhode Island Supports New Tobacco Law

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) recognizes and applauds the significant public health achievement of The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act being signed into law. This new law gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products.

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“This is a major milestone in the tobacco control movement,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “This legislation will allow the FDA to enforce stricter guidelines regarding tobacco advertising and promotions – especially to children. Every year in Rhode Island, 1,400 children and teens become regular smokers. Many of these kids will die prematurely as a result of smoking. This law will help make it harder for youth to start smoking and make it easier for them to be a non-smoker.”

Each year, tobacco use kills more than 1,600 adult smokers in the state and 1,500 adult non-smokers due to the effects of exposure to second-hand smoke. Tobacco costs the state $506 million annually in healthcare-related costs. Rhode Island is the seventh state in the nation to go smoke-free and currently has the highest cigarette excise tax in the country at $3.46/pack.

The new law will allow the FDA to regulate many aspects of the tobacco industry, including: · Ban of candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes · Requirement of large, graphic health warnings that cover the top half of the front and back of cigarette packs · Ban of misleading health claims such as "light" or "low-tar” · Disclose of the contents of tobacco products, as well as changes in products and research about their health effects.