Children-friendly flavors, attractive packaging and wise marketing campaigns target youngsters while hiding hazardous effects of tobacco consumption.
The appearance of candy-flavored smoking products has increased concerns among many health advocates, parents and physicians.
Cigars, cigarillos and a variety of other smokeless tobacco products like – snuff, snus, chew and dissolvable tobacco, which at present are available in such alluring flavors as chocolate, strawberry, apple and many others. All these products are presented in bright and humorous packaging and easy available at cigarette stores throughout the state, the same as popular Halloween candy.
Such flavored products are considered to be an addiction and have been proven to attract teenagers. The use of these products among young people is increasing very fast. For instance, in Florida, one in six children between 11 and 12 years old had ever tried flavored tobacco, and teens wrongly think that these products are less dangerous that regular ones.
Teens are attracted by these new products and become hooked on them, said Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.
Young people have always been the main target for the tobacco industry. Various internal tobacco industry documents demonstrate that the companies consider children as a key market, and create products that will attract them. With the decline of regular smoking rates in the USA, the tobacco industry guarantees its existence by creating new products that will be interesting to new generation of tobacco consumers.
I want my peers to understand that candy-flavored tobacco is not safer than regular cigarettes or other so called “plain” smoking products. These products are seen everywhere – at sport events, in magazines and convenience stores, said Kareem Golden, SWAT State Chair.
Candy-flavored smokeless tobacco products are also thought to be less dangerous; but in fact these smokes possess more nicotine than regular cigarettes, and 29 hazard agents, like nitrosamines, which are the most dangerous. It is very known that those people who start to light up smokeless tobacco often become heavy smokers.
The assault of flavored smoking products has not gone unnoticed, and the candy-flavored cigarettes were prohibited under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Action 2009. However the most popular menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, cigarillos were not included in that list. Nowadays the Food and Drug Administration is considering options for controlling these last categories of flavored smoking products.
Many municipalities in Florida have passed several resolutions concerning candy-flavored cigarettes, which prohibit the sale and advertisement of all candy-flavored tobacco products.