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VA Kids can Breathe Easier as Flavored Cigarettes Get the Boot

September 28, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. - Federal regulators now have more authority to control what goes into cigarettes, and the Food and Drug Administration 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 clove, along with fruit and candy flavors, are banned, though menthol is not.

Most adult smokers started as teenagers, so Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids>/em>, says the ban will help stop teens in Virginia and across the country from picking up the habit in the first place.

"We know that one of the ways tobacco companies have targeted them has been with flavors; it makes it easy to smoke, makes it more enticing, so this is just one piece of a very large effort to reduce youth smoking."

McGoldrick notes that Congress recently gave the FDA broad powers to regulate the tobacco industry, and he says the FDA Center for Tobacco Products will also be taking steps to make smoking less alluring to kids by limiting advertising in magazines with high youth readership.

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

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates more than 15 percent of high schoolers in Virginia smoke, with more than 9,000 kids under 18 becoming daily smokers each year.

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA