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News » Filed under: Smoking/Tobacco

Candy- and Fruit-Flavored Cigarettes Banned

Article date: September 25, 2009

By: Rebecca V. Snowden

Candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes are now illegal, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said this week. The ban is the first move by the FDA to enact the anti-tobacco initiatives outlined by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed by President Obama in June.

“Big Tobacco for years has used candy- and fruit-flavorings in their cigarettes to attract and addict young smokers,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, CEO of the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “The ban on cigarette flavors that are blatantly intended to hook children is a critical first step toward reversing that trend.”

Research shows that the younger you start smoking, the more likely you are to smoke as an adult. Almost 90% of adult smokers started at or before the age 19. And people who start smoking at younger ages are more likely to develop long-term nicotine addiction than people who start later in life.

Flavored cigarettes are especially popular among kids and teens, in part because they are sold in enticing flavors such as chocolate, cherry, strawberry, and orange. Because of the flavorings, teens and kids often think these products are safer than regular cigarettes.

"Flavored cigarettes attract and allure kids into lifetime addiction," said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH. "FDA's ban on these cigarettes will break that cycle for the more than 3,600 young people who start smoking daily."

The bill requires tobacco companies to stop making, shipping, and selling flavored cigarettes and requires vendors to pull the products off their shelves.

The ban does not apply to menthol cigarettes or other flavored tobacco products like cigars at this time, but the FDA may rule on these areas in the future.

“The tobacco industry has spent the last 50 years misleading smokers about the dangers of tobacco use and marketing to youth,” said Daniel E. Smith, president of ACS CAN. “The ban on candy- and fruit-flavorings in cigarettes is only one aspect of this lifesaving new law that has the potential to break the deadly cycle of addiction and put an end to Big Tobacco’s targeting of our nation’s children.”

The bill will also eventually require cigarette makers to disclose product ingredients to the FDA and prohibit them from using misleading labels such as "low tar" or "light" on cigarette packages. And it will hold tobacco companies to marketing restrictions – for example, they will no longer be allowed to advertise near schools or sponsor entertainment and sporting events.

For more information about the legislation, see our story, "Tobacco Regulation Bill Becomes Law."  To find out what your lawmakers are doing to lessen the impact of tobacco in your community, visit the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff

ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.

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