Federal tobacco legislation provides an opportunity not only to reduce youth smoking, but to meet other public health goals: the reduction of environmental (second-hand) tobacco smoke, the expansion of smoking cessation programs, the strengthening of international efforts to control tobacco, and the provision of funds for health research and other health objectives.
Second-Hand Smoke: The best scientific studies show that restrictions on second-hand smoke reduce the risk of death and injury to non-smokers, including the hundreds of thousands of children with asthma and other respiratory illness, and lead many smokers to quit the habit. Federal tobacco legislation should include provisions to restrict smoking in workplaces and other public facilities of the kind found in H.R. 3434, as well as in the President's recent Executive Order on tobacco smoke in federal facilities.
Smoking Cessation Programs: Data suggests that some 70% of smokers want to quit, but fewer than 3% each year successfully do so. Legislation should help enable smoking cessation services to reach and assist the millions of smokers who want to break their addiction to tobacco products.
International Leadership: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use now causes 3 million deaths a year worldwide; unless checked, that number will rise to 10 million by 2025, with 70% of annual deaths occurring in developing countries. Legislation should strengthen global and bilateral efforts to reduce smoking by providing assistance to international institutions.
Resources for Health Research and Other Health Care Objectives: The Administration believes that the primary objective of tobacco legislation is to reduce youth smoking, not to raise money. But tobacco legislation also should take into account the health costs associated with smoking and the resulting need for public health investments. Legislation should generate sufficient resources to establish a health research fund and contribute significantly to other important health objectives. In addition, Congress should repeal the provision giving the tobacco industry a $50 billion credit.
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