AMA Strengthens Anti-tobacco Policies to Further Protect Youth

CHICAGO — The American Medical Assoc. (AMA) recently adopted policies at its interim meeting reaffirming its longtime commitment to preventing tobacco use among youth. The policies ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require tobacco companies to add color, graphic warning labels to all cigarette packages, and call for raising the minimum legal purchase age of all tobacco products to 21.

According to a recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, raising the minimum legal purchase age of tobacco products to 21 could result in a 12{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} decrease in smoking prevalence among the nation’s youth.

“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 Dr. William Kobler. “We also call on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to act now to submit a new proposed rule that would require all cigarette packages to include graphic warning labels depicting the negative health consequences of smoking.”

The AMA issued a comment letter to the FDA in 2011 when it released its initial proposed rule to add graphic labels, and will continue to advocate for more stringent policies to protect the nation’s youth from the harmful effects of tobacco use.