Fruity-, candy-, clove- and chocolate-flavored cigarettes are now banned in the U.S. under the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday.
The ban is part of a national effort by the FDA to reduce smoking, considered to be the leading cause of preventable death, in America.
The FDA’s ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, effective Tuesday, aims to reduce the number of children who start to smoke, and who become addicted to tobacco products.
The FDA is also examining options for regulating both menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes, the administration said.
“Almost 90 percent of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers. These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, in a news release. “The FDA will utilize regulatory authority to reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco products to enhance our Nation’s public health.”
Flavors make cigarettes and other tobacco products more appealing to youth, according to health advocates. Studies have shown that 17 year old smokers are three times as likely to use flavored cigarettes as smokers over the age of 25, the FDA said in a statement.
The FDA sent a letter to tobacco companies notifying them of the ban. Companies that do not comply are subject to FDA "enforcement actions," the statement said.