Sweet-Flavored Tobacco Alarming Officials Around the Country
Novel products in fruit and candy flavors latest tactic to lure kids
Posted by: Editor | Mar 1, 2012
Apple, grape, peach, strawberry, cherry, orange.
"It's like Starbursts" says Roberta Hurtado, 17, of Orlando, Florida.
But the flavored products that have Florida communities up in arms aren't candy. They're tobacco products including little cigars, chewing tobacco and newer smokeless products shaped in pellets, sticks and other easily concealed forms. In addition to their sweet flavors, these products are often sold in brightly colored packages that are attractive to kids.
About 100 communities across Florida have adopted resolutions urging businesses to stop selling fruit-and liqueur-flavored tobacco products, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
In Montana, where nearly a quarter of high school boys use smokeless tobacco, the proliferation of new smokeless products, especially those that are flavored and packaged in ways that make them resemble candy or mints, are raising alarm. Health officials report an "across the board" uptick in kids using the new products.
"The issue is that the tobacco companies know that, so they manufacture it in flavors kids will like," says Stacy Campbell of the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. "Do you seriously think a 50-year-old person that smokes is going to go in and buy those? No!"
Sale of cigarettes with candy and fruit flavorings were banned under the 2009 law giving the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products. The FDA has the authority to extend these restrictions to other products.