Report Warns Kids Tempted by New Tobacco Products

Public health organizations warned in a new report Feb. 20 that "an insidious new generation of tobacco products" is recruiting new, young smokers and is being marketed by Big Tobacco to counter declining smoking rates in the United States and increasing smoking restrictions. Such groups are also sounding alarm bells as Altria prepares to spin off Philip Morris International Inc. to its shareholders on March 28; the spinoff will accelerate aggressive marketing of tobacco products in the Third World, anti-tobacco groups say.

The report by the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says tobacco companies take advantage of limited government regulation to design and market products that recruit new youth users, create and sustain addiction to nicotine, and discourage users from quitting. The report is an explicit push for passage of a bill to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco marketing.

Today's tobacco products come in more flavors, forms, shapes, and sizes, and with more unproven health claims, than ever before, the groups say. Candy, fruit, and alcohol flavors make them appealing to children, and smokeless products (some in teabag-like pouches or in dissolving tablets) have been marketed.

"Until the FDA is given authority over tobacco products, America’s kids and consumers will continue to be guinea pigs in the tobacco industry’s deadly science experiments," say the organizations, which have posted their report at http://tobaccofreekids.org/reports/products/.

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