Cheap and Sweet Like Candy – Kills Like Tobacco

December 13, 2011

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The tobacco industry has maneuvered around marketing restrictions aimed at protecting youth and found yet another way to hook kids when they're young: Flavored 'little cigars' that are so cheap kids can easily afford them, and so sweet with kid-friendly flavors that some young smokers believe they're less addictive than cigarettes.

The Washington Post reports that in some states, cigar smoking among high school students, particularly boys, has become more prevalent than cigarette smoking. The cigars come in flavors such as strawberry, watermelon, vanilla and chocolate. Because they are taxed at much lower rates than cigarettes and can be sold separately, kids find them much more affordable and accessible than cigarettes, which can cost more than $5 a pack.

One young man from Arlington, Va. told the Post that high school kids smoke the little cigars 'because they think they're less addictive, it looks better and it's cheaper.'

The landmark 2009 law giving the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products banned the sale of candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes. The tobacco industry is evading that ban by marketing flavored 'little cigars' that entice kids. It is critical that the FDA take action to protect our kids and stop tobacco companies from evading the law.