Sue Scheff: Flavored Cigarette Ban and Teens

teensmokeSource: Connect with Kids

“They’re marketing towards us, and there’s not much we can do about it but just not buy it.”

– Forrest, 18

The Food and Drug Administration has now banned flavored cigarettes in American in an attempt to lower the teen smoking rate.  Clove and mint and chocolate flavored cigarettes will no longer be sold in the U.S.  But already tobacco companies are finding loop-holes in the new FDA rules.

The packaging was sleek with the promise of a sweet smell and taste.

“I saw two of them,” says Adina, 15. “One of them was, like, Kahlua flavored, and one was, like, lime.

Another teen, who doesn’t want us to use his name, says he tried them once. “I guess ‘cause it had a flavor to it.”

Flavored cigarettes are now banned under new FDA legislation, but tobacco companies have found a way to keep their hands in the primarily under-30 market: flavored cigars.

Still, experts say, parents have the power to keep their kids from picking up the habit.  “Sitting down and talking about how advertising works, how companies — regardless of what they’re advertising — what hooks they use in trying to manipulate you into buying products,” says Linda Lee, anti-smoking advocate.

Forrest, 18, says teens can take matters a step further. “They’re marketing towards us, and there’s not much we can do about it but just not buy it.”

Tips for Parents

Patrick Reynolds was the first tobacco industry executive to turn his back on the cigarette makers. His grandfather founded tobacco company R.J. Reynolds, but the family’s cigarette brands, Camel and Winston, killed his father and eldest brother. He has devoted his life to the goal of a smoke-free society and motivates young people to stay tobacco free. Patrick Reynolds first spoke against tobacco to Congress in 1986. Over the years he has reached over a million youngsters through his talks to school groups.

  • One study shows that 25 percent of 12- to 13-year-olds who smoke as few as two or three cigarettes a day become addicted in just two weeks.
  • It takes the average smoker 17 years to quit.
  • Tobacco products cause mental and physical addiction in users.
  • It’s very hard to quit: 95 percent who quit without an aid go back to smoking within a year, 85 percent of those who use a patch, gum or other program to quit are unsuccessful for more than one year.
  • The average smoker spends $1,200 on the addiction each year.
  • Most smokers started smoking as teens, and 40 percent of smokers will die from a disease resulting from their addiction.
  • In the United States, smoking causes one of every five deaths. Cigarettes kill 1,200 Americans every day, or 420,000 Americans each year. Globally, deaths total 5 million annually.

Every day in the United States, 3,000 teens become newly addicted to smoking. Smoking ads are designed to manipulate minds. Teens represent any business’ future. Tobacco companies are extremely sensitive to this fact and look to find new users in young demographics.

  • Today 75 percent of Americans do not smoke, and this percentage is even lower among teens. Remind children that being a non-smoker is normal and widely accepted.
  • Eighty-six percent of teens say they don’t want to date someone who smokes.
  • Movie characters are more likely to smoke than people in real life. Films mislead many teens into thinking that smoking is more popular than it really is.
  • Stores are paid up to $100 a month for each countertop display of tobacco products in the store. Plus, they make a lot of money from the cigarettes their customers buy.
  • In many places it is illegal to smoke indoors. Tell your child that he or she will be smoking outside of his or her future workplace and college and will be doing so in the heat, cold, rain, snow, etc.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The Foundation for a Smokefree America