Durbin Statement on Passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today after the Senate passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 – a bill which restricts the marketing and sale of tobacco products to children; requires tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in their products; gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco products; and requires larger, stronger health warnings on tobacco products.


“The tobacco companies’ days of peddling one of the most deadly products in the world have finally come to an end. With the passage of today’s legislation we will begin to reduce the terrible toll tobacco has taken on children and families across the nation.”


“This moment has been coming for 20 years. Now we’ve given the FDA the tools necessary to protect millions of children and families from deadly tobacco-related diseases. I want to thank my colleagues – especially Senators Kennedy and Dodd – for the passage of this landmark public health legislation.”


More than 43 million Americans - nearly 1 in 5 – currently smoke. 90% of these smokers began as children. Every day, more than 3,500 kids try smoking for the first time and an additional 1,000 become regular, daily smokers.

“Tobacco use leads to a staggering number of deadly diseases and medical complications,” said Joel Africk, President and CEO of Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. “This law will save millions from the health burden of tobacco use and we owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Durbin for his principled leadership on this legislation.”

In Illinois, almost 20% of children smoke, together consuming 34 million packs of cigarettes a year. It is estimated that nearly 317,000 Illinois children alive today will eventually die from smoking related diseases.