Senator Obama's legislative record in the tobacco control arena is extensive.
First, this very week Senator Obama joined nine U.S. Senate colleagues in calling on President Bush to send to the Senate for ratification the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world's first public health treaty.
Second, Senator Obama was one of the original cosponsors of pending landmark legislation providing the Food and Drug Administration with authority to regulate tobacco products and tobacco marketing.
Prior to that, Senator Obama is on record as supporting, and sometimes leading, a number of tobacco control efforts, both as a U.S. Senator and in his years as a state legislator in Illinois:
2005: Obama Voted To Create The Display Of Tobacco Products Act - The Display of Tobacco Products Act, among other things, provides that it is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, give away, or display tobacco products for sale at any location where the consumer can acquire those products through self-service. Provides that every tobacco product must be displayed from behind a sales or service counter so that a consumer cannot access tobacco products without assistance by an employee of the retail establishment authorized to sell tobacco products. Provides that it is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, give away, or display tobacco products for sale at any location unless the tobacco products are displayed from behind a sales or service counter or in an age restricted area of a retail establishment or in an enclosed display case so that a consumer cannot access tobacco products without the assistance of an employee of the retail establishment authorized to sell tobacco products. Provides that it is unlawful for any person who sells tobacco products over the counter to maintain such products in any location accessible to customers that is not within the line of sight, or under the control, of a cashier or other employee during regular business hours. [93rd GA, HB 318, 3R P 57-0-0, 5/7/03; Session Sine Die, 1/11/05]
2004: Obama Voted To Restrict The Display Of Tobacco Advertisements - Creates the Display of Tobacco Products Act. Among other things, provides that it is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, give away, or display tobacco products for sale at any location unless the tobacco products are displayed from behind a sales or service counter or in an age restricted area of a retail establishment or in an enclosed display case so that a consumer cannot access tobacco products without the assistance of an employee of the retail establishment authorized to sell tobacco products. Provides that single packs of cigarettes must be sold from behind the counter or in an age restricted area in which minors under 18 years of age are not permitted access unless accompanied by an adult or in a sealed display case and all other tobacco products must be in the line of sight of the cashier or other employee of the store. [93rd GA, HB 4302, 3R P 58-0-0, 5/13/04; PA 93-0886, 8/9/04]
2003: Obama Co-Sponsored Bill To Use Money From Tobacco Settlement Recovery Fund - Creates the Tobacco Settlement Recovery Fund Uses Act. Among other things, provides for a comprehensive tobacco use prevention and reduction program, to be administered by the Department of Public Health. Under a separate program, provides for grants from the Department of Public Health to free medical clinics and not-for-profit health clinics. Under a third program, provides for grants from the Department of Public Health to local health departments to achieve local priorities. Provides for a biomedical research program, to be administered by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. [92nd GA, HB 2001, Session Sine Die, 1/7/03]
2003: Obama Sponsored Bill To Make Illegal Alcoholic Cigarette Wrapping Paper - In 2003, Obama voted to amend the Tobacco Accessories and Smoking Herbs Control Act which states that a person may not knowingly sell, barter, exchange, deliver, or give away to any other person any cigarette wrapping paper or wrapping leaf that is, or is held out to be, impregnated or scented with, or aged or dipped in, alcoholic liquor or honey, or both. [92nd GA; HB 5909; 2002; Session Sine Die 1/7/03]
2003: Obama Voted To Prohibit Cigarette Distribution From Vendors Within 1000 Feet of A School - In 2003, Obama voted to amend the Sale of Tobacco to Minors Act to provide that the sale or distribution at no charge of cigarettes from a lunch wagon engaging in any sales activity within 1,000 feet of any public or private elementary or secondary school grounds is prohibited. [93 GA, SB 1030, 3R 53-1-1, 3/20/03; PA 93-0284, 7/22/03]
2003: Obama Sponsored Bill To Increase Minimum Age To Buy Tobacco - In 2003, Obama voted to increase the age at which a person may lawfully buy cigarettes or other tobacco products from 18 to 19. [93rd GA; HB 1383; 2003; Referred to Rules 3/21/03, Alternate co-sponsor added 4/10/03]
2002: Obama Supported Increase In Cigarette Tax - SJR reported, "Sen. Obama said, 'A 75-cent-a-pack increase in the state's cigarette tax would help relieve the state's budget problems and cut down on the number of Illinoisans who smoke . . . At present, the cigarette tax is 58 cents a pack. Most brands now cost $3 to $5 a pack. Imposing the higher tax would mean 'we get a two-fer' because fewer teens would smoke, and the state would get an extra $500 million to plug holes in the budget,' said state Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago. 'It's going to be hard for us to find a better solution than this one,' he said." [SJR, 4/5/02]
2002: Obama Voted to Allow Employees of the Department of Revenue to Arrest Any Person Violating the Tobacco Products Tax Act of 1995 - Amends the Tobacco Products Tax Act of 1995. Provides that any duly authorized employee of the Department of Revenue (i) may arrest without warrant any person committing in his or her presence a violation of any of the provisions of the Act (ii) and may without a search warrant inspect all tobacco products located in any place of business and seize any tobacco products and any vending device in which those tobacco products are found. Provides that the tobacco products or vending devices so seized shall be subject to confiscation and forfeiture under the Act. Provides procedures for the seizure, forfeiture, and sale of tobacco products found to be in violation of the Act. [92nd GA, SB 2211, 3R P 55-0-0, 3/6/02; PA 92-0743, 7/25/02]
2001: Obama Sponsored Bill Prohibiting Bidi Cigarette Distribution - In 2001, Obama voted to criminalize the distribution of "Bidi cigarettes," which contain tobacco that is wrapped in temburni or tendu leaf or a similar substance, and do not contain a smoke filtering device to another person. [91st GA, SB 1583, 2000; Referred to rules 2/1/00; Session Sine Die, 1/9/01]
2001: Obama Voted For Bill That Taxed Snuff - In 2001, Obama voted for a bill that amends the Tobacco Products Tax Act to define snuff and impose a tax of 37 cents per ounce of snuff. [92nd GA, SB 449, 3R P; 48-3-3, 3/29/01]
2001: Obama Sponsored Bill To Tax Out-Of-State Tobacco Distributors - In 2001, Obama voted to designate out-of State distributors as subject to the Tobacco Products Tax Act of 1995 when they sell tobacco products to retailers and consumers in Illinois. [92nd GA; SB 0853; 2001; PA 92-0231; 8/2/01]
2000: Obama Sponsored Bill To Ban Sale Of Bidi Cigarettes - Chicago Defender reported, "Joined by Father Michael Pfleger and Ald. Terry Peterson (17th), Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D-13th) is introducing legislation that will ban the sale of bidi cigarettes. According to Obama, bidi cigarettes, which come in bright-colored, cone-shaped packages of 20 costing $2.50 a pack, are targeted to young people primarily because they resemble marijuana 'joints' that are wrapped in a nonporous, brownish leaf and come in various flavors he says appeal to teens and those in their 20's. 'These are strong, flavored cigarettes that are becoming an increasing part of our youth culture of exploration in Illinois and across the country,' Obama said." [Chicago Defender, 2/5/2000]
Compiled by: Clifford E. Douglas, J.D.
Executive Director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ths page created on March 8, 2008 with the consent of Clifford E. Douglas, Esq.
and was last revised by John R. Polito on March 8, 2008 at 23:17 EST