They say what goes around, comes around and that saying can apply to the current smoking laws and bans by states. Banning smoking in the United States is nothing new. Over a century ago, in 1901, 43 of the 45 states either had anti-smoking laws, were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or had anti-cigarette activity going on in their state. By 1909, fifteen states had passed legislation banning the sale of cigarettes.
In 1905, when the government was trying to pass the Food and Drug Act, it had to remove the word “Tobacco” from the US Pharmacopoeia, an official listing of drugs, in order to get the support of the tobacco state legislators. Elimination of the word tobacco automatically removed it from FDA supervision. When the Federal Food and Drugs Act was passed in 1906, it prohibited the sale of adulterated foods and drugs, and mandated honest statements of contents on labels. Nicotine was originally listed as a drug, but was removed after tobacco industry lobbying efforts. By removing “tobacco” and “nicotine” from the list of drugs, the tobacco industry effectively removed itself from regulation.
Fast-forward a century later and tobacco control is now under the FDA through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Signed into law in 2009, the FDA now has the authority to regulate marketing and promotion of tobacco products and to set performance standards for tobacco products. New graphic warning labels are part of the new law and are to go into effect in September 2012. Tobacco companies have filed suit against the FDA over the new mandatory labels.
In the past century, laws have changed and cigarette brands have come and gone, but the number of deaths from using tobacco continue to increase. Over 443,000 Americans die every year from smoking. Over 5.4 million deaths worldwide are caused by tobacco. It is estimated that tobacco will kill 1 billion people this century if current trends continue. What other product on the market today with known carcinogens and radioactive properties is allowed to continue to be sold?
You can not make an informed and conscientious decision about a product if you do not have the facts. That’s why it is so important to teach students the dangers about tobacco. The Florida Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Intervention Teacher Training Course can prepare students by educating them about tobacco. This online course is free for educators and provides lesson plans. It will also provide you with up to 60 teacher in-service credits as approved by your district. Take a moment to check out the course.