FDA To Regulate Tobacco Ads Targeted At Minority Communities

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FDA To Regulate Tobacco Ads Targeted At Minority Communities

"This year, Congress has an opportunity to do something truly importantto improve the health of America's families," particularly minorities,by passing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (S 625 and HR 1108), former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher writes in an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The legislation would "finally" give FDAauthority over tobacco products and the tobacco industry's marketingpractices, according to Satcher. In particular, it would requiretobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in their products, removeharmful ingredients and "stop misleading the public about the dangersof smoking," Satcher writes.

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Despite "considerable progress,tobacco continues to take a terrible toll on the health of ourcitizens," Satcher says. He notes that although whites are more likelythan blacks to be smokers, blacks die at higher rates ofsmoking-related diseases. Among Hispanics, "smoking is the cause of adisproportionate amount of death and disease in a community with lowrates of health insurance coverage and limited access to medical care."

He adds that in recent years, "tobacco companies have increasedmarketing to the Hispanic community with ads in magazines popular" withHispanic youth. "There is no better example of the powerful impact oftobacco marketing" toward black youth than the fact that 80% of themprefer Lorillard Tobacco's Newport cigarettes.

"Thetobacco companies get away with these harmful practices because nogovernment agency currently has any real authority over how tobaccoproducts are manufactured or marketed," Satcher writes. The proposedlegislation "would give the FDA the authority to crack down" on suchmarketing practices, Satcher said. He adds, "By passing the FamilySmoking Prevention and Control Act, Congress can take a major step toprotect our children and reduce the terrible toll of tobacco on ourcommunities" (Satcher, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/27).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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