New bill is necessary measure

Published 12:12 am Saturday, June 13, 2009

Smoking is one of the foulest habits known. The residue stinks. It causes numerous health problems. It stains the teeth. There’s not a redeeming quality about it.

On Friday, Congress passed a bill that takes a sweeping blow at eradicating this pestilence from our society by placing tobacco products under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration. That means the government agency can demand changes or block the introduction of new products.

For certain, the government will dig in and attempt to prevent new nicotine addicts by focusing on teenagers. For instance, the legislation does not allow tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools or playgrounds. Point-of-sale advertising will be limited to adults-only facilities. Vending machines will be allowed only in places restricted to adults. Retailers who sell tobacco products to minors will face federal enforcement and penalties.

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The new measure, which President Obama (a smoker) expects to sign into law soon, also forbids the sale of “flavored” cigarettes, more popular with young smokers. Cigarettes advertised as “light” or “mild” will disappear from the market.

The move is one needed for a long time when one considers the 400,000 deaths and $100 billion in health care costs attributed each year to smoking in this nation.