President Obama Delivers Victory for… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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President Obama Delivers Victory for Kids and Taxpayers by Signing Legislation Curbing Internet Tobacco Sales

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 31, 2010

Washington, D.C. — President Obama continued his strong leadership in the fight against tobacco use today when he signed the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT), which will curb tax evasion and curtail the growing sales of low-cost cigarettes and other tobacco products over the Internet and through the mail.

Enactment of this legislation is a milestone in the fight to keep kids from smoking and prevent tax evasion that costs taxpayers billions each year. Internet sales of tobacco products are a serious and growing problem that illegally keeps prices down and smoking levels up. Such sales also make it easier and cheaper for kids to buy cigarettes and facilitate tax evasion. Many vendors that sell cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products over the Internet or through other mail-order sales do not pay applicable tobacco taxes and do not have sufficient safeguards to prevent sales to children, such as effective policies to verify a purchaser's age.

Both houses of Congress approved the legislation with wide, bipartisan support earlier this month. We applaud Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the chief House sponsor, and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Senate sponsor, for their leadership and persistence in pursuing this legislation and winning its approval.

We thank President Obama for continuing to display strong and consistent leadership in the fight against tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The President has also signed legislation increasing the federal cigarette tax to fund expansion of children's health insurance and the landmark law giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products and marketing. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 already has led to restrictions on tobacco marketing and sales to kids.

The newly enacted PACT Act will:

  • Require Internet sellers to pay all federal, state, local or Tribal tobacco taxes and affix tax stamps before delivery to any customer;
  • Mandate that the age and identification of purchasers be checked at purchase and at delivery;
  • Require Internet vendors to comply with state and local laws as if they were located in the same state as their customers;
  • Provide federal and state enforcement officials with new tools to block delivery of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products that evade federal or state laws; and
  • Ban the delivery of tobacco products through the U.S. mail.