New rules restrict tobacco access to kids

Last week, the FDA published a new rule that will restrict the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to children and adolescents.

Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents, restricts the sale, distribution, and promotion of these products to make them less accessible and less attractive to kids.

These changes take effect on June 22, 2010, and will

* Prohibit the sale of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to people younger than 18,
* Prohibit the sale of cigarette packages with less than 20 cigarettes,
* Prohibit distribution of free samples of cigarettes,
* Restrict distribution of free samples of smokeless tobacco, and
* Prohibit tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical or other social or cultural events.

The FDA also encourages parents to understand the serious risks associated with flavored tobacco products.

Many types of tobacco products are made to taste like vanilla, orange, chocolate, cherry, coffee and other flavors. But flavors make tobacco products especially appealing to kids – which can lead to a lifetime of tobacco addiction.

Young people are much more likely to use flavored tobacco products than adults, and tobacco industry documents show that companies have designed flavored cigarettes with kids in mind.

Tobacco companies are savvy when it comes to building the next generation of new customers. One company proposed creating a honey-flavored cigarette to attract teenagers who like sweet products.

Candy and fruit flavors mask the bad taste of tobacco, making it easier for kids to start using tobacco products. Once they start using one tobacco product, however, they are more likely to experiment with others.

All tobacco products contain nicotine, the primary addictive chemical that makes it so hard to quit using tobacco. As of September 22, 2009, it is illegal to sell cigarettes containing certain characterizing flavors except menthol anywhere in the United States.

If you see flavored cigarettes for sale, the FDA wants to hear about it.

Call: 1-877-CTP-1373
Write: 9200 Corporate Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850-3229
Submit a report online


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