Florida’s Collier County Health Department is worried about candy-flavored tobacco that, as they say, targets children.
Candy is one of the tobacco companies’ favorite strategies on Halloween. Fruit- and candy-flavored cigarettes were prohibited according to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009. Nevertheless, menthol cigarettes and other smokeless products are amongst some of the products not included.
There are progressively more non-cigarette products available in Florida which are used by rising generation. Tobacco products in flavors like strawberry, chocolate and apple are accessible throughout the state in spite of overwhelming facts that these products attract youth and result in tobacco addiction.
“Younger generation has always been a target for the tobacco cigarette makers, and the Health Department will take measures,” said State Surgeon General John Armstrong.
“Cigarette makers see teenagers as an easy target, and produce products like flavored tobacco and sales strategies directed at them.”
Brandhorst says that candy-flavored tobacco products focus on children, applying fruit and candy flavors to hide the harsh taste of tobacco and get kids hooked early-on.
“A lot of kids are buying candy-flavored tobacco products,” said Nicole Cardenas, a Collier student who is part of the ‘Students Working Against Tobacco’ group. “Their parents might not know, they’re probably getting it off the streets, from friends and even family members.”
Cardenas says that students are misled into considering that candy-flavored tobacco is not as harmful as regular cigarettes – but the health effects are the same.
Since 2009, candy-flavored cigarettes are forbidden in Florida, but flavored cigars, cigarillos and chewing tobacco were the exclusion of the ban.
“The cigarette makers manufacture products every year to try and avoid those prohibitions.”
Anyone 18 years and older can lawfully purchase the candy-flavored cigarettes at convenience stores throughout Southwest Florida and there’s nothing they can do about it, county health officials say.
Collier County had approved resolution obliging sellers to stop selling the products, but only a state law can really prohibit them.
“A resolution really doesn’t hold,” said Brandhorst. They are passed just as a method to bring attention to this issue.”