Senator Fuschillo Calls For Ban Of Candy Flavored Cigarettes

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

February 18, 2005

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) and Assemblymember Pete Grannis (D-Manhattan) introduced legislation that would prohibit the sale of cigarettes laced with candy, fruit and other enticing flavors.

Under the proposed legislation, the sale of cigarettes with any flavors other than menthol will be prohibited. Flavors currently on the market include Twista Lime, Blueberry, Chocolate Mint, Midnight Berry, Mandarin Mint, Winter Mocha Mint, Warm Winter Toffee, Caribbean Chill, Mocha Taboo, Beach Breezer, Kauai Kolada, Cherry and Vanilla.

"The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that nationwide more than 4000 children under the age of 18 start smoking every day. It is obvious that flavored cigarettes are an attempt of the tobacco industry to expand their market by tempting children to start smoking," stated Senator Fuschillo. "The intent of this legislation is to prevent the industry from achieving its goal while we continue to protect our children."

"Nearly all new smokers are children who are susceptible to the insidious marketing techniques used by the tobacco industry," added Assemblymember Grannis. "Big Tobacco’s newest marketing ploy, the sale of flavored cigarettes, is another blatant attempt to lure children to begin the lifelong addictive habit of smoking."

The new flavored products have triggered heavy criticism from public health experts who contend that, with their brightly colored packaging and names traditionally associated with candy or ice cream, these products are the latest effort by the industry to attract underage smokers and hook them on a lifelong habit. New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, along with the state’s leading public health organizations, has praised the proposal to ban these products.

"I am appalled by the efforts of the tobacco companies to market and sell flavored cigarettes," said Attorney General Spitzer. "Flavored cigarettes are more attractive to children than to adults, and thus these products will increase youth smoking and lead to a lifetime of addiction and illness for these new smokers. I applaud Assemblymember Grannis and Senator Fuschillo for leading the effort to ban flavored cigarettes in New York."

The independent evaluation of the state's Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program estimated that the tobacco industry spent $830 million in New York State in 2002 to market their deadly products. The messages from the industry reach impressionable ears – new smokers are predominately children. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, over 51,000 children in New York State take up the habit each year.

If enacted, the proposal will mark the first such prohibition in the nation, once again placing New York State at the forefront of tobacco control. Senator Fuschillo and Assemblymember Grannis previously joined forces in 2003 as the authors of legislation to strengthen the state's comprehensive Clean Indoor Air Act, which protects working New Yorkers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.