The Problem with Kids and Flavored Tobacco

by Josephine Hwang & Brian Jenssen MD

We can all remember the joy of browsing the candy aisle as kids, the temptation of those brightly-colored candy wrappers promising a fruity-sweet reward inside. Unfortunately, the tobacco industry has historically capitalized on children’s love of sweets, and may be targeting them in marketing campaigns once again.

While it’s often adults who face the consequences of long-term tobacco use, we – as researchers and practitioners who have studied this issue closely – see a consistent pattern of the tobacco industry working to attract new customers from childhood. This concerns us because each day nearly 2,100 youth become daily cigarette smokers, and one out of every three young smokers—5.6 million children today—will die early because of tobacco use. Recognizing this, the Philadelphia City Council recently introduced legislation that seeks to ban flavors that appeal to children in cigar products, eliminating one of the industry’s primary marketing tactics and giving our young people a fair chance to lead tobacco-free lives.

Based on evidence that cigarettes flavored with candy and fruit encourage youth experimentation, regular use and addiction, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 banned all cigarettes containing flavors except tobacco and menthol. The ban appears to be working. It has been associated with a decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked among youth by 58 percent and the likelihood of smoking cigarettes overall in this age group by 17 percent.

While this data is encouraging, efforts to curb smoking initiation among youth face a new threat. Tobacco companies also develop and market cigars, smokeless tobacco, and electronic cigarettes. These products are not subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes, so adding flavors to them has not come under the same scrutiny. As a result, there are now more than 250 flavors of cigar products, everything from cotton candy to strawberry.

The public health implications of this trend have been significant. We have already seen a shift towards the use of non-cigarette tobacco products preferentially among youth and young adults across the country. In Philadelphia, teen cigar and “cigarillo” or little cigar use rose by more than 75 percent between 2011 and 2015, such that cigar use is now more common than cigarette use. The appeal of these products for youth is addicting a new generation of users and undoing progress made by previous tobacco control policies.

Flavored cigars and cigarillos are major “starter products” that get kids hooked on tobacco by masking the harshness of smoke and making the smoking experience more tolerable and enjoyable. Over 80 percent of adolescents and young adults who have tried tobacco report that their first product was flavored. When asked why they use tobacco, young users consistently say it is because they like the flavors.

Youth are also more likely to experiment because they might think flavored products, especially cigars and cigarillos, are more “natural” and less harmful than cigarettes. In reality, the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes are produced in cigars at even higher levels. Still, their brightly-colored foil packaging, wide variety of flavors and fruity-sweet smells only create false-positive images for kids. Flavored tobacco lowers the perceived harm and increases the social acceptability of using tobacco, ultimately increasing youth experimentation.

The long-term consequences of tobacco use are devastating for patients and their loved ones. The progressive damage to the heart, lungs and blood vessels can severely limit one’s ability to function independently. Smoking also increases the risk of cancer in nearly every body part, from the mouth to the colon. In fact, the health consequences are so extensive that smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Preventing children from ever picking up their first tobacco product is by far the best thing we can do to protect them from tobacco-related disease and death.

In Philadelphia, we have the opportunity to use effective policy to close the flavor loophole. The country’s leading medical and health advocacy groups, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Cancer Society, all agree that flavored tobacco products are made for the purpose of attracting kids and fueling the addiction of a new generation of lifelong users. Several major U.S. cities, including Chicago and Minneapolis, limit the sale of flavored cigars; San Francisco moved ahead to ban all flavored tobacco products.

Philadelphia deserves the same protections, and we can’t afford to wait as children and adolescents pay the ultimate price. For our youngest—and future—generations to have a fair shot at a tobacco-free life, we need to act now to prevent children’s access to all flavored tobacco products.

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Billfold in a Box

Billfold in a Box

Billfold in a Box

I received the Billfold in a Box from Groovy Guy Gifts and I was very surprised how well made the wallet was and immediately emptied my existing wallet and tried it out. Everything fit perfectly with plenty of room for more. It is comparable to wallets that are much more expensive. It has a good arrangement of slots for plastic cards, and picture IDs.

The leather construction provides me good protection against bending the above cards. This one is recommended. Design, leather, construction are all right on the mark. I am quite pleased with it.

Regarding the wooden box that it came in I was also impressed as it was a work of art as well. Had my name engraved and it was obviously done by a professional. That I will keep my wallet in by my bedside as it looks that great.

CRA Statement on Passage of House Bill Containing Premium Cigar Exemption Language

United States House of Representative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018, H.R. 3354.

By a vote of 211-198, the House adopted language that would exempt premium cigars from FDA language by restricting the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) from using any funds to enforce the rule.  The specific language included in the bill, is the same language that was adopted by the full House Committee on Appropriations on July 12th of this year.

J. Glynn Loope, Executive Director of Cigar Rights of America, stated “that passage of this amendment, as included in the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018, is a testament to the bi-partisan coalition of co-sponsors that have served as a voice of reason, that premium handmade cigars do not deserve the treatment of draconian regulations as proposed by the FDA.  Loope continued, ” the bill further speaks to the original congressional intent of the Tobacco Control Act, while serving as a message to the U.S. Senate, as budget negotiations continue this year.”

CRA would like to publicly commend the House of Representatives for taking action to protect the small business premium cigar manufacturers and retailers of this country as well as protecting the rights of adult consumers of premium cigars.

CRA looks forward to working with our supporters and champions in the Senate as they began the process of consideration of this bill.

CRA is working in partnership with the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association in an effort to seek this premium cigar exemption, and to mitigate the detrimental impact of the currently proposed FDA regulations.

For comments, questions, or additional information regarding the FDA’s announcement, please contact the individuals listed below.

Glynn Loope

glynn.loope@cigarrights.org

Cody Carden

cody.carden@cigarrights.org

(202) 469.3444

Cigars and Tobacco in History

Have you ever wondered where cigars were first produced?  It is widely believed that cigars were first produced in Spain.  But before cigars became all the rage in Europe, tobacco was needed to make them.

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Hostory of Cigars

The origins of cigar smoking are still unknown. A Guatamalan ceramic pot dating back to the tenth century features a Mayan smoking tobacco leaves tied together with a string. Sikar, the Maya term for smoking, may have inspired the name cigar.

But before cigars became all the rage in Europe, tobacco was needed to make them.  Tobacco is indigenous to the Americas, where native peoples have produced it for hundreds of years.  It is believed that the Maya of Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and parts of Central America cultivated tobacco, and even smoked it!  Tobacco use spread to other tribes, both north and south.  It is believed that its first use in the United States was probably among the tribe along the Mississippi.  It wasn’t until Christopher Columbus sailed his famous voyage to the Americas in 1492 that the rest of the world came to know tobacco.

It is said that Columbus was not impressed by tobacco or its use among native peoples, but many sailors grew found of the strange plant. Soon it quickly caught on in Spain and Portugal.  From there, it spread to France, where the French ambassador Jean Nicot lent his name to the scientific name for tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). The origins of the word tobacco itself are still suspect, although many believe it is simply a corruption of the word Tobago, which is the name of a Caribbean island.  Still others believe it comes from the word Tabasco, a region (and now state) in Mexico. The first tobacco plantation in the United States was established in Virginia in 1612.  More tobacco plantations followed in Maryland soon after.  Although tobacco became a popular crop, it was only smoked in pipes.

The cigar was not introduced to the United States until the late 18th century.  Israel Putnam, an army general who had served in the Revolutionary War, is credited with introducing the cigar to the United States.  He had traveled to Cuba after the Revolutionary War and returned with a box of Cuban cigars.  Their popularity quickly spread, and soon enough cigar factories were established in the area of Harford, Connecticut, where General Putnam resided.  In Europe, cigar production and consumption did not achieve widespread popularity until after the Peninsula War in the early 19th century.  British and French veterans returned to their homelands after years of serving in Spain with their tobacco pipes in tow.  Among the rich and fashionableHealth Fitness Articles, the favored method of taking tobacco was the cigar.  Cigar smoking remains a habit associated with the rich and discriminating of upper society.

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