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Flavored tobacco targets kids: American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society warns parents that tobacco companies have kid-friendly cigarettes.

Courtesy of the American Cancer Society Sale of candy-flavored tobacco products is restricted in New York City. Credit: American Cancer Society

Chocolate, peaches and cream and bubblegum are popular candy flavors — but they are also popular flavors of tobacco intended to appeal to teens.

Candy-flavored cigarettes are dangerously targeted to kids, the American Cancer Society said in a new report.

“Parents need to be aware that these products, even though they are banana- or strawberry-flavored,are just as dangerous, just as deadly and just as wrong as allowing your child to smoke tobacco," warned Mike Davoli, the American Cancer Society’s legislative campaign director.

Following New York City’s lead in restricting the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products, the American Cancer Society wants New York State to do the same.

“These flavors are the latest efforts of tobacco companies to hook our kids,” Davoli said. “That is not something that we can just sit back and allow.”

According to the ACS, tobacco companies have been targeting kids by luring them in with attractive new flavorful tobaccos as “starter” products to get them hooked, allowing them to then “graduate” on to adult tobacco brands.

These “starter” products include flavored cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco that often are produced with eye-catching, colorful packaging.

“Let’s be honest, it’s not my 85-year-old grandpa that is looking to smoke a flavored cigar,” Davoli said. “These products are designed to attract kids.”

As the tobacco industry is increasingly updating its appeal to youth, the ACS is pushing for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to enact a ban similar to New York City's.

“Every year in New York State, 400,000 smokers will die from tobacco-related illness,” Davoli said. “If the tobacco industry wants to survive, they need to replace those smokers, which they do by using flavors to entice children to begin using this deadly product, which will eventually end in addiction and half of them dead.”

 
 
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