Doctors call for federal tobacco strategy
WASHINGTON, (UPI) -- The American College of Physicians is calling for a comprehensive U.S. strategy to control tobacco use, rather than the current piecemeal state action.

Dr. J. Fred Ralston Jr., president of the American College of Physicians, said recommendations outlined by the organization could form the basis of such a strategy. They include:

-- All states should establish and adequately fund, with federal assistance, comprehensive tobacco control efforts to prevent tobacco use among young people; provide information about the dangers of tobacco products; minimize exposure to secondhand smoke; and help tobacco users quit.

-- Public and private insurers should provide tobacco cessation benefits and physicians should also help their patients quit.

-- States should establish tobacco control efforts.

-- Youth tobacco education and prevention efforts should be enhanced.

-- The federal government should ban menthol flavoring in all tobacco products.

-- State and local governments should establish smoke-free laws banning smoking in all nonresidential indoor areas.

-- Comprehensive efforts must seek to reduce the use of cigars and pipes, in addition to cigarettes.

-- The government should regulate electronic cigarettes.

-- Tobacco use in movies and television should be discouraged.

"A comprehensive tobacco control and prevention effort must be undertaken and consistently maintained to ensure that a new generation of smokers does not replace those who have quit or died because of their addiction," Ralston said in a statement.