FDA Should Extend Ban on Flavors to Other Products to Protect Young People
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In 2009, the U.S. Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act banned the sale of flavored cigarettes, except for menthol, largely because of their wide appeal to young people. A new study from Legacy researchers published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reveals the effects of the tobacco industry's continued efforts to sell other flavored tobacco products, such as cigars and smokeless tobacco. The study is the first to examine the prevalence of flavored tobacco products in a nationally representative sample following the 2009 ban on flavored cigarettes, and shows that flavored tobacco products remain popular among U.S. young adults aged 18-34.
Past research has shown that the tobacco industry developed flavored cigarettes in large part to appeal to young people. According to the findings of Legacy's new study, 18.5 percent of young adult tobacco users in 2011 reported using flavored tobacco products compared to 11.9 percent using flavored cigarettes in a 2005 study. The most common flavored products used by young adults in the U.S. include hookahs, pipes, and little cigars and cigarillos – all of which are increasingly growing in popularity among young adults.
"While most candy-flavors – such as chocolate, vanilla and peach – were banned in 2009 from cigarettes, flavored tobacco products like cigars, hookah, snus and e-cigarettes persist in more than 45 flavors and are still legally on the market," said Andrea Villanti, Ph.D., MPH, CHES, Research Investigator for Legacy. "These products can be just as appealing to young people as flavored cigarettes, offering a product appearing to be more like candy to those most at-risk of becoming lifelong tobacco users," she added.
Legacy has been working to inform the FDA on alternative products, flavored tobacco and menthol cigarettes since tobacco came under the FDA's authority in 2009. Legacy has called on FDA to ban menthol in cigarettes as well as other tobacco products.
The tobacco and e-cigarette industries deny that flavored tobacco products are aimed toward young, minority consumers; however, these study findings suggest that flavored tobacco product use was more likely in those who were younger, black, and used a menthol product. Meanwhile, it was less likely among those with lower education.
"The tobacco industry is using the same marketing tactics on new products to lure new and young people to their products. We hope this research showing that it is working – and young people are using these products at high rates – will signal the FDA to extend the flavor ban beyond cigarettes, and to also include menthol flavored products in that ban" said Cheryl G. Healton, President and CEO of Legacy.
Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit LegacyForHealth.org.
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