Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Flavored cigarettes banned for public health reasons

In 2007, the World Health Organization released The Scientific Basis of Tobacco Product Regulation, a report that included information about the public health impacts of flavored tobacco products.  From the report:

Basic public health principles dictate that flavours should not be used to adulterate contaminated food or make highly dependence-causing drugs more enticing.

Studies based on the tobacco industry’s internal documents suggest that flavouring agents may also play an important role in the industry’s targeting of young and inexperienced smokers. Menthol has been used to target new smokers across different ethnic groups, and additives such as chocolate, vanillin and licorice have been part of an intensive industry effort to increase the market share of the Camel brand within the youth market. Additives have also been shown to promote smoking among youths by masking the negative taste of tobacco smoke with flavours.

In 2009, in response to public health concerns, the Food and Drug Administration banned cigarettes that contain flavors other than tobacco or menthol. The ban includes cigarettes that contain “an artificial or natural flavor . . . including strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee, that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke.”

Public health concerns included flavored cigarette use rates among young people.  At the time of the WHO’s report, 20% of smokers between ages 17 to 19 reported using flavored cigarettes within the last 30 days, compared to 6% of adult smokers.

Online resources from the Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law provide prevention advocates and policy makers with information on how to regulate tobacco and related products. 

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