SOURCE: American Lung Association

July 26, 2005 08:00 ET

Candy-Flavored Cigarettes Try to Make Tobacco a Sweet Treat for Kids

American Lung Association Issues Tobacco Policy Trend Alert Calling for Government Action

Research Shows That Most Smokers of Candy-Flavored Cigarettes Are Under 25

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 26, 2005 -- The tobacco industry is continuing its targeted marketing to teens via candy-flavored cigarettes, according to an American Lung Association Tobacco Policy Trend Alert: From Joe Camel to Kauai Kolada -- the Marketing of Candy-Flavored Cigarettes. Advertising and promotion for these products uses hip-hop imagery, attractive women, and other imagery to appeal to youth in similar ways that Joe Camel did a decade ago. Tobacco products remain virtually unregulated and each day more than 5,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette, and more than 2,000 become established daily smokers.

Increased marketing efforts for candy-flavored cigarettes came after the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement prohibited tobacco companies from using cartoon characters to sell cigarettes. The surge in advertising from top tobacco companies such as Reynolds American has successfully reached the intended Audience -- youth -- in an underhanded manner. Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, recently released the results of several surveys that showed that 20 percent of smokers ages 17 to 19 smoked flavored cigarettes in the past 30 days while only 6 percent of smokers over the age of 25 did.

"It's appalling that the tobacco industry is not held responsible for the deadly products it continues to market and sell to young people," said John Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Clearly, the industry is trying to get young people hooked on smoking and nothing is being done to limit this targeted marketing. Cigarettes, even in assorted candy flavors, cause lung cancer and lung disease and should be banned for the sake of our children."

Action at the federal level has been minimal. A proposed bill giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate tobacco products failed to pass in Congress in 2004. Identical FDA legislation was reintroduced in March 2005. Under the proposed FDA legislation, candy and fruit flavoring in cigarettes would be immediately prohibited. The legislation would also regulate the sale, marketing and manufacturing of cigarettes.

Additional controls on the tobacco industry could come through the Department of Justice's (DOJ) lawsuit against the industry. In its proposed remedies, the DOJ has called for a complete ban on candy-flavored cigarettes.

You can make your voice heard on this issue by logging on to http://lungaction.org/campaign/tobaccofda and advocating for stricter regulation of the tobacco industry. The full American Lung Association Tobacco Policy Trend Alert: From Joe Camel to Kauai Kolada -- the Marketing of Candy-Flavored Cigarettes can be viewed on the web at http://slati.lungusa.org.

About the American Lung Association

Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined.

The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time."

For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to www.lungusa.org.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Michelle Sawatka
    American Lung Association
    212-315-8727
    Email Contact