Statement: In Support of The Smoker’s Right to Know and Truth in Tobacco Labeling Act

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President of the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS

Feb. 29 2000

Washington, DC - The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS fully supports the “Smoker’s Right to Know and Truth in Tobacco Labeling Act” introduced by Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Lugar (R-IN). For decades the American public has been kept in the dark about the dangerous ingredients in tobacco products. This bill takes a significant step toward creating informed consent among smokers by requiring tobacco companies to print stronger and more prominent warnings on tobacco advertising and package labeling, as well as disclose harmful constituents of tobacco smoke. However, this bill should be viewed as a complement and not a substitute to national oversight of tobacco products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Only the FDA can provide the comprehensive regulation of tobacco product manufacturing, marketing and sales we need to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use. The current warning labels on tobacco products are worn out, have become too familiar, and are not visible enough on the package. We need bolder, more prominent warnings that get kids’ attention and ensure that all tobacco users are aware of the dangers they face. Americans have a right to know what is in the products they consume. When consumers go to the grocery store to buy cereal, fruit juice, or cough syrup, they simply look at the label to find out what is in the product. Not so with tobacco products. When someone picks up a pack of cigarettes, there is no list of ingredients. When it comes to revealing what is in their products, the tobacco companies have sought and received special treatment. This legislation would end this special treatment and require tobacco companies to disclose on the package the carcinogens consumed when inhaling the product. The tobacco companies spend billions of dollars every year on advertising and promotion to make tobacco use look sexy, fun and cool. It is time to require that these companies tell Americans that tobacco and tobacco smoke include benzene, acetone, ammonia, formaldehyde and other poisons. It is time to require that tobacco companies put visible, accurate warning labels on packs that tell the truth about cigarettes.

 

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