American Cancer Society Encourages New York State to go Flavor Free

Cigarettes, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), Little cigars/Cigarillos, Youth

The American Cancer Society’s May 2013 Cancer Brief, “Flavored Tobacco: Big Tobacco’s Latest Effort to Hook Kids”, encourages NY State lawmakers to ban the sale of these deceptive flavored other tobacco products (OTP) except in tobacco-only stores.

In New York State, use of other tobacco products has rapidly increased during the same time that traditional cigarette use has decreased, pointing to a shift in use patterns among youth. Flavored cigarettes were banned in 2009 by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; however that ban does not extend to little cigars or cigarillos.  After flavored cigarettes were banned in 2009, the tobacco industry increased the availability and marketing of little cigars and cigarillos, which are also taxed at lower rates than cigarettes. The FDA found that 17 year-old smokers are more than 3 times as likely to smoke flavored cigarettes than smokers over age 25.

There is a growing awareness about the rapid proliferation of these flavored other tobacco products.  Counter Tobacco’s April Industry Watch Newsletter highlighted flavored product retail trends and earlier this year the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids released a report entitled “Not Your Grandfather’s Cigar,” providing in depth research and analysis on flavored products and trends in youth consumption. They also named cheap, flavored products as a New Villains among America’s Most Wanted Tobacco Villains.

In February 2013, the 2nd Circuit Court upheld New York City’s ban of flavored tobacco products. The American Cancer Society is encouraging the State of New York to pass a similar measure as “a much-needed step to protect children and to reduce their risk of nicotine addiction and the subsequent lethal effects of tobacco.”

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