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Florida Kids Can Breathe Easier as Flavored Cigarettes Get the Boot

September 28, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Federal regulators now have more authority to control what goes into cigarettes, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is flexing its new muscle by banning most flavored cigarettes from being made, imported, distributed or sold in the United States. Such spice flavors as cloves are now forbidden, as are fruit and candy flavors, though menthol is exempt from the ban.

Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says Florida kids buy or smoke about 31 million packs of cigarettes each year. He says that since most adult smokers start as teenagers, the ban will help stop teens from picking up the habit in the first place.

"We know that one of the ways tobacco companies have targeted youngsters has been with flavors. It makes it easy to smoke, makes it more enticing. This is just one piece of the very large effort it will take to reduce youth smoking."

Congress recently gave the FDA broad powers to regulate the tobacco industry, McGoldrick says. The FDA Center for Tobacco Products will be taking additional steps to make smoking less alluring to kids, he adds, such as limiting advertising in magazines with high youth readership.

"That kind of advertising will be limited to black-and-white text only. We'll get rid of a lot of the colorful image advertising that makes smoking and other tobacco use look so sexy and appealing."

In Florida, 20,000 kids a year start becoming daily smokers, McGoldrick says, which means that more than 370,000 of the Florida children now under age 18 eventually will die of complications from smoking.

Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL