Flavored Tobacco Products: What Parents and Community Leaders Need To Know
LABELLE, FL. -- Why pursue restrictions to flavored tobacco sales? Florida’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida adheres to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2007 Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs recommendations.
In order to truly reduce youth tobacco use, we must change the way communities think about tobacco, and tobacco companies, in their homes, schools, worksites, parks and public places. This shift in social norms will occur because of policies that will make tobacco less desirable, less acceptable and less accessible.
Each county in Florida is working towards passing resolutions that will restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products not already covered by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A few facts….
Appeal to Kids. Candy and fruit flavors mask the bad taste of tobacco, making it easier for kids to start using these products. Once they start using one tobacco product, they are more likely to experiment with others. Young people are much more likely to use candy and fruit flavored tobacco products than adults, and tobacco industry documents show that companies have designed these products with kids in mind.
In Hendry County, 1 in 6 youth between the ages of 11 and 17 have tried flavored tobacco.
In Glades County, 1 in 8 youth between the ages of 11 and 17 have tried flavored tobacco.
§ Disguise the bad taste of tobacco. 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.
§ Are just as addictive. Scientists have found that many kids think flavored tobacco products are safer and less addictive than regular tobacco products. This is not true. All tobacco products contain nicotine, one of the addictive chemicals that make it so hard to quit using tobacco.
Most flavored tobacco products like smokeless tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, and dip can be purchased at local convenient stores. These kinds of flavors make tobacco products especially appealing to kids, and can lead to a lifetime of tobacco addiction.
Have the same harmful health effects. Flavored cigars and pipes are not less dangerous than regular tobacco products. Smoking any kind of tobacco product increases your risk of developing serious health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema. Tobacco products that you don’t smoke, like snuff and chewing tobacco, have also been shown to cause gum disease and cancers of the mouth.
The FDA is encouraging parents to understand the serious risks associated with flavored tobacco products.
Begin with the End in Mind. Advocating for policy change is an ongoing process. With each step, we get closer to protecting future generations of youth from the manipulative tactics and new products engineered by tobacco companies.
Local resolutions urging tobacco retailers to restrict the sale and marketing of flavored tobacco products are a step towards broader progress. Hendry and Glades are among the few counties in the state to have successfully passed flavored tobacco resolutions in all jurisdictions.
However, our work is not finished; we must continue to work with our local, state and federal decision-makers to develop policies that totally ban flavored tobacco products.
Submitted by: Hendry Tobacco-Free Partnership