Indianapolis, IN - Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of death, killing 443,000 Americans every year and costing $193 billion in annual direct medical costs and lost productivity. Generally, Hispanics have lower rates of smoking than other racial/ethnic groups (15.8%). However, smoking remains a continuing and serious problem in the Hispanic community. The amount that states spend on tobacco prevention programs pales in comparison to the $12.8 billion a year the tobacco companies spend to market their deadly products, including to young people. Each day, about 1,000 young people under age 18 become regular smokers. Hispanic high school students have a smoking rate of 16.7 percent. Hispanic middle school students smoke cigarettes at a rate equal to other racial/ethnic groups (6.8%).
New FDA regulations give young Latinos a higher level of protection than ever before from the tobacco industry's misleading and deceptive marketing and advertising practices. Although studies show smokers believe light, low, and mild cigarettes are safer than others, repeated testing proves that all cigarettes are harmful and contribute to lifelong health problems. These new regulations, which mark the first anniversary of the historic FDA legislation, signal a giant step in the public health effort to reduce the devastating toll that tobacco use takes on Latinos and on the general population.
NLTCN will continue ongoing efforts to advocate for the health and wellbeing of all Latinos as a means of protecting communities against the impact of tobacco use. NLTCN supports proven strategies that prevent young people from starting to smoke, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, promote quitting, and eliminate tobacco-related health disparities. This includes raising taxes on tobacco; warning young people about the dangers of tobacco; and promoting tobacco cessation services. "We can't ignore the impact of tobacco on our community and we must remain vigilant in protecting our youth against the tobacco industry," proclaimed Aida McCammon, the President and CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. which houses NLTCN-a funded network of the CDC.
Background: On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products, including their manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and sale. On June 22, 2010, the FDA regulations that went into effect are designed to further reduce suffering, deaths and diseases caused by tobacco use and to make cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products less accessible and less appealing to youth. Visitwww.fda.gov for more details.
The Tobacco Control Act includes:
· Provisions that prohibit the advertising or manufacturing of tobacco products with the descriptors, "light," "low," or "mild," or similar descriptors, without an order from FDA;
· FDA rules that limit the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to children and adolescents;
· Requirements for new, larger health warnings on smokeless tobacco packaging and advertisements.
The goal of the National Latino Tobacco Control Network (NLTCN) is to reduce tobacco-use disparities, associated premature deaths and disabilities among Hispanic/Latino (H/L) populations by creating a Network of community-based organizations, advocates, and public health experts in H/L communities to support evidence-based policies/practices in the areas of comprehensive policies, advocacy, prevention, cessation and exposure to secondhand smoke.
The Network has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a five year cooperative agreement as part of the National Network Initiatives. The National Latino Tobacco Control Network (NLTCN) started operating in July 2008.