Jun 12, 2009 | 13
After winning sizable majorities in both House and Senate this week, a new bill would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco. President Barack Obama, who has called it a way to "protect our kids and improve our public health," is expected to sign the bill into law soon.
The Office of the Surgeon General issued a report [pdf] back in 1964, asserting that tobacco's "potential hazard is great… cigarette smoking contributes substantially to mortality from certain specific diseases and to the overall death rate." But in the intervening years, the $89 billion tobacco industry has eluded strict regulation. Annually, smoking ups U.S. health care costs $100 billion and continues to kill about 400,000.
Apr 18, 2009 | 14
Tobacco use among active-duty military personnel is almost double what it is in the civilian population, and while smoking has decreased overall in the U.S., it's been on the rise in the military since 2002. To change that, the Department of Defense (DoD) is looking to…videogames?
The government agency has awarded researchers at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston a $3.7 million grant create a video game that will deter soldiers from smoking and help those who already do to quit.
"The video game in general is becoming more popular among researchers who want to deliver a health message to a target audience," says Alexander Prokhorov, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson, who will lead the work. Video games are also being used to teach people about nutrition, asthma and other health-related issues, he notes.
Apr 2, 2009 | 7
The House today approved a bill that would for the first time give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D–Calif.), passed by a 298-112 vote, culminating a nearly decade-long battle by anti-smoking advocates to grant the FDA regulatory power over the industry. The bill, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, would empower the agency to approve or nix new products and bars companies from adding fruit and other flavors to cigarettes that critics say are aimed at attracting—and hooking—young smokers.
Apr 1, 2009 | 7
House members are expected to approve a bill tonight that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), would require the FDA to approve any new tobacco products before they're marketed, and would ban artificial and natural flavoring of cigarettes, other than menthol and tobacco. Critics say candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes were designed to appeal to kids, and the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and 46 state attorneys general barred companies from marketing them with an eye toward getting minors hooked on smokes despite laws that prohibit their sale to anyone under 18.
Nov 18, 2008 | 2
Alaska is making the best use of cigarette taxes and Big Tobacco settlement money distributed to states in the decade after authorities negotiated a deal with the companies over smoking-related health costs incurred by the states, according to a new report released today by a coalition of advocacy groups. South Carolina ranks the worst.
States have received $203.5 billion in tobacco revenue since the Master Settlement Agreement between states’ attorneys general and cigarette makers in 1998. The agreement required the companies to reimburse states for the money they spent treating smoking-related illnesses. It didn’t stipulate how states should spend the funds, but many attorneys general and public health officials said they’d use it and revenue from cigarette taxes to discourage children from smoking. But just over 3 percent of that money – about $65 billion – has been spent on tobacco prevention and treatment programs, according to the report.
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