Sweet smokes
Jim Mcknight  /  AP file
Camel's flavored cigarettes include, from left, Mandarin Mint, Izmar Stinger, Twist and Creamy Mellow Mint. State officials say the manufacturer has agreed to halt sales.
updated 10/12/2006 12:49:04 PM ET 2006-10-12T16:49:04

R.J. Reynolds has agreed to a domestic ban on flavored cigarettes such as “Twista Lime” and “Mocha Taboo” that critics say are marketed to youths, officials from 38 states and a U.S. territory said Wednesday.

The tobacco giant settled the broad investigation of domestic sales of the flavored products without paying any penalty. The company agreed to stop identifying cigarettes with candy, fruit, desserts or alcoholic beverage names, imagery or ads, according to a statement from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The company will also stop using scented promotional material, including scratch-and-sniff samples.

“Selling candy, fruit and sweetened, alcohol-flavored cigarettes is downright irresponsible, given the appeal of these products to youth,” Spitzer said. “The attorneys general, together with the public health community, will not tolerate Reynolds’ shameful ploys to introduce our children to smoking and to lure them into a lifetime of addiction to its deadly products.”

Last year, a national survey by Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute found that 20 percent of smokers ages 17 to 19 used flavored cigarettes in the past 30 days while just 6 percent of smokers over the age of 25 did, said Dr. Gary Giovino, a senior researcher at the institute.

There was no immediate comment from the company, whose products include Camel, Kool and Salem brands.

Officials from New York and Illinois co-led the investigation. Other states involved included: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

The states argued that the flavored cigarettes violated a nationwide settlement with the largest tobacco companies in 1998 that prohibited the marketing of products to youths.

“Candy-flavored cigarettes can now join Joe Camel on the ash heap of defunct tobacco marketing schemes,” said Donald Distasio of the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey.

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