"Tobacco companies clearly market their deadly products to young people by making smokers look "cool" in their ads," said Erika Van Dam, Supervisor for Family & Community Health Services at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "This new ruling will prohibit the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to youth."
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which sponsors Kick Butts Day, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people every year. Every day, more than 4,000 kids try their first cigarette; another 1,000 kids under 18 become addicted smokers, one-third of whom will die prematurely as a result.
According to Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Study, of students surveyed--seventh, ninth, and eleventh graders--18% smoked during the past 30 days. Local data suggest those figures are slightly higher, with approximately 20% reporting recent smoking.
Published March 19, 2010, the new FDA rule becomes effective June 22, 2010, and has the force and effect of law. Among other things, the rule:
"Some studies indicate young people become addicted more quickly to tobacco than adults," said Erika Van Dam, Supervisor for Family & Community Health Services at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "We are very excited about this new FDA ruling, and in conjunction with Michigan's new Smoke-Free Air Law, we hope to prevent many unnecessary deaths due to tobacco-related diseases. We want kids to know if they are smoking and want to quit, we have resources to help them. They are easy to find on our website."
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about Kick Butts Day, visit www.kickbuttsday.org. For smoking cessation resources, visit www.nwhealth.org or call Van Dam at 347-6014.