Other Tobacco Products Appeal to Children
An emerging public health concern are other nontraditional tobacco products, such as new dissolvable tobacco products, flavored tobacco products (smoked little cigars and smokeless), and electronic cigarettes. These products are gateway products to other nicotine smoking products.
Two studies analyzed young adults' perceptions about these alternative tobacco products. This study published in July 2012 in American Journal of Public Health found that young adults have a positive perception of these new, trendy tobacco products because they come in flavors. However, this study from February 14, 2012 and published in Nicotine Tobacco Research confirms that young adults convey little understanding of the risks associated with these products.
A study published February 2012 in the Research of Nicotiine and Tobacco used data collected between 2004-2009 and found a 5.9% increase in alternative tobacco product use by 14-17 year olds who did not smoke cigarettes. Use of these alternative tobacco products caused symptoms of nicotine dependence comparable to cigarette smokers. Read the study abstract.
Dissolvable Tobacco Products
New dissolvable tobacco products made to look like candy are especially appealing to small children and teens:
- The dissolvable nicotine pellets look like tic tacs, and the dissolvable strips look like mint breath fresheners.
- The products contain levels of nicotine that can be poisonous and pose a serious health threat, if ingested by small children and youth.
- Dissolvable tobacco products appeal to young persons who may initiate tobacco use by starting with these products.
- Marketed for use when one can't smoke by law, as a bridge product.
The FDA is considering regulating new dissolvable tobacco products that are not FDA-approved for helping to quit smoking. Read more on our dissolvable tobacco webpage.
Flavored Tobacco Products
Flavored tobacco products appeal to teens and young adults. The 2009 federal law bans characterizing flavorings in cigarettes, except for menthol. But other tobacco products are still allowed to be flavored, such as little cigars, cigars, loose tobacco and product for hookah smoking, and chew, snus and dissolvables.
New York City was the first city in the nation to pass an ordinance banning the sale of all flavored tobacco products. The banned flavors include any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Products LLC filed a lawsuit against NYC claiming the ordinance was illegal. The New York City court ruled to uphold the law in November 2011. Visit our news alert on the subject to learn more.
Read more about public health concerns with flavored tobacco on our flavored tobacco webpage.
E-cigarettes deliver highly-addictive nicotine in flavored cartridges. Read a June 17, 2013 New York Times editorial pointing out that the tobacco companies, losing sales to cigarettes, now have a new tool to promote addiction to children through flavors such as chocolate, cherry and peach.
Last update: 6/20/13