Four American cigarette manufacturers have been issued with official warnings for selling flavoured cigarettes which may appeal to under-age customers.
The Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA) sent warning letters to Cheyenne International LLC, Swisher International Inc, Southern Cross Tobacco Company Inc and Prime Time International Co in response to the sale of the flavoured cigarettes, which were labelled as ‘cigars’ or ‘little cigars’.
The ‘cigars’ feature flavours such as strawberry, cherry and grape, which the FDA says means they will appeal to young people. This is in contravention of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
What Is the Problem?
It is well recognised that flavoured cigarettes appeal to children, as the flavours help disguise the taste of the tobacco. As around 90% of adult smokers tried their first cigarette before they were 18, the law makes it illegal to manufacture and market such products.
According to the NHS, the younger you are when you start smoking, the more damage your body will suffer when you get older.
Since 2009 the Tobacco Control Act has banned any tobacco products which contain sweet and fruity flavours because of their obvious appeal to children.
What Action Is Being Taken?
The manufacturers of the potentially illegal cigarettes have been given 15 working days to reply to the letters from the FDA. If they refuse to respond to the warning, they may be liable to prosecution.
In the meantime, the FDA expects the cigars to remain on sale, and they could be sold until the manufacturers work with the agency to make any changes necessary in order to make the products comply with the law.
What Is the FDA?
The FDA is part of the American Department of Health and Human Services, and it has the job of protecting the public health. Their remit involves ensuring the safety and effectiveness of both human and veterinary vaccines and drugs and other products such as medical devices.
The agency is also responsible for the security and safety of the nation’s cosmetics, food, dietary supplements and tobacco products.
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