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Now big tobacco targets kids with flavored cigarettes

Joe Califano and Louis Sullivan have an article in the June 29, 2006 issue of the Washington Post about how Reynolds Tobacco, (remember Joe Camel?) is marketing flavored cigarettes to kids.

Now RJR is marketing the sweet smell and taste of flavored cigarettes that mask the harshness of natural tobacco, which can deter some first-time smokers, especially children. These cigarettes are packaged in shiny tins with cool new names, flashy advertising and candy flavors ranging from watermelon ("Beach Breezer") to berry ("Bayou Blast") to pineapple and coconut ("Kauai Kolada").

As Reynolds has known for decades, 90 percent of adult smokers become addicted as kids, and the younger a child begins to smoke, the likelier the child is to become a regular smoker. Moreover, the age at which kids first try cigarettes has been declining and now stands at just under 12. By masking the regular tobacco flavor and scent, flavored cigarettes make it even more appealing for a 12- or 13-year-old to take that initial puff and keep smoking until he or she gets hooked.

It's interesting how the Feds get their panties in a knot over marijuana and street drugs when tobacco kills over 15 times as many people per year as street drugs and is by far more addictive quicker. You'd think after the "War On Drugs" which has been going on for years we could figure out what the real enemy is and set our priorities more appropriately.

Link: The Flavor of Marketing to Kids.


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