Bennet: Tobacco Bill Will Keep Kids From Smoking, Lower Health Care Costs

As Original Co-Sponsor, Bennet Applauds Passage of Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

Washington, DC - Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, released the following statement on the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which passed the U.S. Senate today by a vote of 79-17. Bennet is a cosponsor of the legislation.

"As we work to fix our economy, reducing health care costs needs to be at the top of our list," said Bennet. "Prevention is one of the smartest ways to lower the cost of health care and this legislation will do just that. This bill is a fiscally responsible and sensible approach to help our kids lead healthier lives."

Colorado spends over $1.3 billion in annual health care expenditures directly caused by tobacco use and over $74.8 million from second-hand smoke exposure. Given the current smoking levels, 92,000 kids will ultimately die from smoking in Colorado. Currently, 14.6 percent of Colorado's high school students smoke.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to grant the FDA authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The legislation is fully paid for through the increase of a user fee on manufacturers of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco.

The bill marks a major reform in the regulation of tobacco products. Tobacco products will now have to meet an FDA standard of being deemed "appropriate for the protection of the public health."

This Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will:

• Restrict misleading tobacco marketing and sales to youth
• Grant FDA authority to tobacco
• Require detailed disclosure of nicotine and other harmful smoke ingredients
• Allow FDA to require changes to tobacco products to protect the public health
• Require bigger, stronger health warnings