FDA's Proposed Rule on Youth Smoking
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Thu, 24 Aug 1995 15:14:58 EST
As promised, I've looked over the FDA's proposed rule on youth
smoking, and have summarized it briefly below.
The proposed rule is open for public comment until November 9.
From the summary:
"The FDA is proposing new regulations governing the sale and
distribution of nicotine-containing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
products to children and adolescents in order to address the serious
public health problems caused by the use of and addiction to these
products. The proposed rule would reduce children's and adolescents'
easy access to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as well as
significantly decrease the amount of positive imagery that makes these
products so appealing to them. The proposed rule would not restrict
the use of tobacco products by adults.
"Specifically, the proposed rule would establish 18 years of age as
the Federal minimum age of purchase and would prohibit cigarette
vending machines, free samples, mail-order sales, and self-service
displays. It would also require that retailers comply with certain
conditions regarding sales of tobacco, especially verification that
the purchaser is at least 18 years of age before a tobacco sale is
made. Finally, the proposed rule would limit advertising and labeling
to which children and adolescents are exposed to a text-only format;
ban the sale or distribution of branded non-tobacco items such as hats
and tee shirts; restrict sponsorship of events to the corporate name
only; and require manufacturers to establish and maintain a national
public education campaign aimed at children and adolescents to counter
the pervasive imagery and reduce the appeal created by decades of
pro-tobacco messages and thus to help reduce young people's use of
The goal is to reduce by roughly half the use of tobacco products by
children and adolescents. If this objective is not met within seven
years of the date of publication of the final rule, the FDA will "take
additional measures" to bring about this reduction in the use of
tobacco products by young people. FDA solicts comments on other
measures to bring about the 50 percent reduction in youth smoking.
The rule itself is only a few pages long, but the preamble is about
100 pages long, in which FDA lays out its reasons for taking this
step. It makes for very interesting reading--especially for people
like us, involved with youth--because it goes into a lot of detail
about adolescent psychology and how they can be persuaded to do almost
anything by clever and massive advertising campaigns. "Joe Camel",
for example, almost single-handedly QUADRUPLED Camel cigarettes' share
of the smoker's market in the ten years or so old Joe has been around.
FDA has evidence that children as young as 3 can identify Joe Camel.
Joe is, of course, aimed exclusively at "young adults," the euphemism
tobacco companies use to describe high school students.
In fact, almost 9 in 10 smokers took up smoking before the age of 18,
and each day, 3,000 more adolescents start. The tobacco companies
desperately need these new customers, since they lose about 1.7
million customers a year--400,000 die of cancer, heart disease or
emphysema, and 1.3 million quit.
Anyway, I strongly recommend checking out this important notice.
There is much in it that should be of interest to all of us, on a
variety of levels.
SM, Troop 113
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City