FDA Bans Flavored Tobacco

cigarette_burning_Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received the power to regulate tobacco products. According to the Washington Times, the legislation gave the FDA authority to reduce nicotine levels and require larger and more informative health warnings on cigarette packs. Also included in the legislation was the authority to impose strict penalties on tobacco companies that market their products to minors and for making false and misleading claims.

“Regulating tobacco is the single most important thing that we can do right now to curb the deadly toll of tobacco — and FDA is the right agency to do this job,” said Congressman Henry Waxman (D), California, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed on June 22, 2009. Three months later, the FDA banned the sale of flavored cigarettes.

While there remains some question regarding what items will be banned, obvious items will be tobacco products with chocolate, vanilla, candy, spice, clove and other flavorings that lure children and teenagers into smoking. According to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA, “These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers.”

Healthy student activity.

Healthy student activity.

According to a New York Times article, 17-year-old smokers were more than three times as likely as those over the age of 25 to smoke flavored cigarettes, and they viewed flavored cigarettes as safer. This proves itself out in that several of my students who consider themselves non-smokers, frequent “hookah bars” and enjoy flavored tobacco. Their favorite appears to be cherry.

WebMD listed some of the future anti-smoking initiatives proposed by the FDA:

* By April 2010, The FDA will reissue its 1996 regulations aimed at reducing tobacco use among young people. This will include a ban on the use of tobacco-company logos at sports or entertainment events.

* By July 2010, the FDA will ban the use of the terms “light,” “low,” and “mild” on tobacco products.

* By July 2010, FDA promises to strengthen warning labels on smokeless tobacco products.* By October 2012, the FDA says warning labels on cigarettes “will be revised and strengthened.”

Let’s do what we can to support these initiatives on behalf of our youth and the health of our nation.

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