As soon as Halloween kicked in, candy is here to stay through the New Year. But year-round, candy is one of the tobacco industry’s favorite tricks.
Fruit and candy-flavored cigarettes were banned under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009. However, menthol cigarettes and other smokeless products are amongst some of the productions not included.
There are increasingly more non-cigarette products available in Florida which youth are using. Tobacco products in flavors like kiwi-strawberry, chocolate and sour apple are available across the state despite overwhelming evidence that these deadly products appeal to youth and lead to a lifetime of tobacco addiction.
Sarasota's City Commission will consider a resolution at its Monday evening meeting to urge residents and visitors of the city to not purchase candy flavored tobacco and asks businesses to voluntarily cease selling and marketing the product.
The resolution was developed in part by Students Working Against Tobacco, or SWAT. The group already helped similar resolutions pass in Venice, North Port and from Sarasota County government.
These products have grabbed the attention of the state's Department of Health.
“Youth have always been a target for the tobacco industry, and our Department will not sit by and watch,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “Companies perceive youth as an easy target, and develop products like flavored tobacco and marketing campaigns aimed at them.”
Many children and teens believe these products are less harmful than their non-flavored counterparts. It’s no surprise that one in seven Florida youth between the ages of 11 and 17 has tried flavored tobacco. Once they start using one tobacco product, they are more likely to experiment with others.
More than Just Cigarettes
The flavoring and lower costs of these non-cigarette smoked tobacco products make them especially appealing to youth.
All of these tobacco products cause cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related diseases. Smokeless tobacco includes chew, dip, snus and a host of emerging products.
Compared to cigarettes, these products can contain more nicotine. Traditional smokeless products, like chew and dip, contain 28 cancer-causing agents. Users of these products have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancers and a 60 percent higher risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer.
With cigarette smoking rates on the decline, the tobacco industry has created products and strategies that attract a new generation of tobacco users. The array of flavored tobacco products that appeal to youth present new challenges and concerns in the fight against tobacco use. These products help create a new generation of lifelong nicotine addicts and of life-threatening diseases.
Learn more about the dangers of candy-flavored tobacco and how you can help protect Florida’s youth from this sweet deception. Visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/flavoredtobacco.
ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA
The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund.
Tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to use one of the state’s three ways to quit. To learn about Tobacco Free Florida and the state’s free quit resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.comor follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.
Thanks to the Florida Department of Health for passing this information along.