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Flavored Tobacco Products Appeal to Youth

Did you know that nearly 90% of those who use tobacco started before the age of 18? This is a well-known fact by the tobacco industry, and tobacco companies are constantly devising new plans to get teens to try tobacco.

The latest trend: tobacco products that look and taste like candy. Candy and fruit flavors disguise the harsh taste of tobacco, making it easier for kids to use them. But the reality is, flavored tobacco products are just as dangerous and addictive as regular cigarettes and smokeless products, because they all contain nicotine.

There are smaller cigars, called little cigars or cigarillos, with sweet flavors, colorful packaging and cheap prices, all of which makes them appealing to kids. These products come in flavors such as peach, apple, grape and cherry and carry names such as "Swisher Sweets" and "Sugarillos."

There are also smokeless tobacco products on that market that come in an array of colorfully packaged and sweetly flavored smokeless products, some of which look, taste and are packaged just like candy.

"The ability to attract new smokers and develop them into a young adult franchise is key to brand development."1

Taxes on tobacco products are cheap in Colorado: 84 cents state tax per pack of cigarettes compared to $4.35 state tax per pack of cigs in NY. Studies have found that higher prices on tobacco leads to reduced tobacco use especially among youth.2



1 1999 Philip Morris report, "Five-Year Trends 1988-1992." Bates No. 2044895379-484).
2 Tauras, J, et al., “Effects of Price and Access Laws on Teenage Smoking Initiation: A National
Longitudinal Analysis,” Bridging the Gap Research, ImpacTeen, April 24, 2001; Chaloupka, F, “Macro-Social Influences: The Effects of Prices and Tobacco Control Policies on the Demand for Tobacco Products,” Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 1999; Chaloupka, F & Pacula, R, An Examination of Gender and Race Differences in Youth Smoking Responsiveness to Price and Tobacco Control Policies, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 6541, April 1998)