ALBANY, N.Y. — Flavored cigarettes have names that sound like exotic drinks — Winter Warm Toffee, Twista Chill and Kauai Kolada — and are advertised on the pages of glossy magazines — Rolling Stone, Glamour and Elle.
Teens are lighting them up — and, consequently, lawmakers are trying to ban them.
Congress is considering a bill to prohibit the sale of flavored cigarettes, as are New York, Minnesota, West Virginia, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina and Texas.
At least one tobacco company, Reynolds American Inc., has already stopped advertising them. Another, Altria, doesn’t make candy- or fruit-flavored cigarettes and supports a ban.
“These are designed to attract younger smokers,” said Michael Bopp of the American Cancer Society. “We don’t want to see a product introduced that will give back the gains we’ve made in this state in reducing teenage smoking.”
'Sweeten the poison'
A survey released last week by Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute found that 20 percent of smokers 17 to 19 smoked flavored cigarettes in the past month, compared with just 6 percent of smokers over 25.
“They are using flavors to sweeten the poison,” said Dr. Gary Giovino, a senior researcher at the institute.
Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American does not target minors in its marketing but decided to stop advertising flavored versions of its Camel brands — Mandarin Mint and Dark Mint — after meeting with Sen. Charles Fuschillo, a sponsor of New York’s bill, said company spokesman Fred McConnell. The brands will still be sold, however.
“We recognize use of certain names on Camel Exotics have resulted in unintended concerns,” he said.
McConnell said the company opposes legislation to ban flavored cigarettes because it would also ban conventional cigarettes.
“Ingredients like cocoa, sugar, licorice and menthol have been used in cigarettes for 100 years,” he said.
© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.