Institute of Medicine Recommends Ways to Reduce Smoking in the US
WASHINGTON, DC -- June 8, 2007 -- Tobacco use causes 440,000 deaths per year nationwide and accounts for about $89 billion in health care expenses, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a scientific group that advises Congress on medical issues. In a recent report entitled, Ending the Tobacco Problem, A Blueprint for the Nation, the IOM considered ways to reduce smoking and secondhand smoke.
- Greatly increasing the federal excise tax on cigarettes to discourage purchases and to fund tobacco prevention programs.
- Imposing smoking bans in indoor public settings such as restaurants, bars, malls and nursing homes.
- Requiring health insurance plans to provide coverage for smoking cessation programs.
- Banning online sales of tobacco products and direct-to-consumer shipments.
- Restricting tobacco ads to black-and-white, text-only, and prohibiting the use of misleading terms such as "mild" and "light."
- Requiring pictorial warnings in addition to text warnings on cigarette packages.
- Prohibiting tobacco companies from targeting young people.
- Reducing the number or type of stores that are allowed to sell cigarettes.
The report also recommends developing a plan for gradually lowering the nicotine content of cigarettes and urges Congress to pass legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to enforce nicotine reduction standards.