AMA strengthens anti-tobacco policies

November 16, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policies at its interim meeting reaffirming the commitment of our nation's physicians to preventing tobacco use. The policies ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require tobacco companies to add graphic warning labels depicting the negative health consequences of smoking to all cigarette packages and call for raising the minimum legal purchase age of all tobacco products to 21.

California earlier this year passed a California Medical Association (CMA)-sponsored law that would raise California's smoking age to 21, as part of the most robust package of tobacco control legislation the state had seen in decades. The bills will also close loopholes in the state’s smoke-free workplace laws; require that all schools be tobacco free; establish a tobacco licensing fee program under the state Board of Equalization; and, importantly, classify electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.

California voters also last week overwhelmingly passed Proposition 56, a CMA-supported measure that will increase the state's cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on products containing nicotine derived from tobacco, including e-cigarettes.

Smoking kills more than 40,000 Californians each year, and smoking-related health care costs California taxpayers $3.5 billion each year. Each year, nearly 17,000 California kids get hooked on tobacco, one-third of whom will die from tobacco-related diseases.

“As part of the AMA’s effort to improve the health of the nation, the policies adopted today further our longtime commitment to keeping all harmful tobacco products out of the hands of young people. California and Hawaii have already raised the minimum legal purchase age of tobacco products to 21, and we encourage all states to follow suit,” said AMA Board Member William E. Kobler, M.D.


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