Sen. Carper Hails Passage Of Legislation To Reduce Smoking

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) hailed the passage today of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1256)  to better protect public health and wellness, and to improve the nation’s work productivity.

“Tobacco is one of the most addictive and deadly products sold legally in the United States,” said Sen. Carper, an original co-sponsor of the Senate bill. “We have a responsibility to protect our children – 3,500 of whom try smoking for the first time each day. If we can prevent more Americans from smoking we can reduce premature deaths, health care costs and lost work productivity.”

The Senate bill gives the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products, and a similar measure passed the House last month.

According to recent government studies, nearly 20 percent of American adults, or more than 43 million people, are addicted to cigarettes. In Delaware, more than 18 percent of adults smoke. Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans each year, and an additional 50,000 nonsmokers die prematurely each year due to exposure to secondhand smoke.

Each year, some $96 billion in public and private health care expenditures are attributable to smoking, and the national economy loses another $98.6 billion in reduced work productivity due to cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke, making the total U.S. economic burden for smoking about $192 billion per year.

The Senate bill, which passed this afternoon by a vote of 79-17, is designed to:

 – Reduce youth smoking;
 – Prevent the sale of tobacco to minors;
 – Help current smokers quit;
 – Reduce the toxicity of tobacco products; and
 – Stop the tobacco industry from misleading the public with understated claims about the dangers of using tobacco products.