A report out today from the National Cancer Institute concludes tobacco marketing causes kids to smoke and anti-tobacco advertising campaigns help prevent smoking. Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says nine of every ten smokers in Iowa started using tobacco in their teens.
McGoldrick says, "In Iowa, about 19% of high school students smoke and about 4,700 d Iowa kids become daily smokers every year and, unfortunately, that’s why Iowa loses about 45-hundred of its residents every year to premature death from tobacco use." He says legislation that’s pending in Congress would give the F.D.A. broad new powers over tobacco.
McGoldrick says, "Based on the conclusions of this report and our long knowledge of the tobacco companies’ marketing practices to kids, we’re calling on the Congress to finally give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the sale, marketing and manufacture of tobacco products just like they do virtually every other consumer product."
The legislation has already passed in the U.S. House and has the co-sponsorship backing of 58 senators, including Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin. Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, has expressed support for the bill. McGoldrick says the bill would put new restrictions on tobacco marketing into effect almost immediately.
"The bill would get rid of all outdoor advertising near schools," he says. "It would remove advertising with colorful pictures that appeal to kids from convenience stores where kids are hanging out a lot and also from kids’ favorite magazines, and it would end all the tobacco companies’ sponsorships including sports and music events that we know appeal to young people."
He says the legislation would also give the F.D.A. the authority to respond when "sophisticated tobacco marketers" come up with new and creative ways to get around the restrictions. For more information on the study, see the National Cancer Institute website .