Tag Archives: youth smokers

Broken Cigarette and Young Woman

Retailers Selling Tobacco Products to Underage Users Receive Warning Letter

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 20% of high school students smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products.

The FDA also reports that 80% of adults who smoke started before they were 18 years old.

As part of the FDAs strategy of protecting the health of youth, compliance checks amongst tobacco retailers are done to determine whether or not vendors are cooperating in the enforcement of tobacco control laws.

Violating Tobacco Laws

Broken Cigarette and Young WomanIn June 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This legislation gives the FDA the authority to ensure smoking laws are enforced by undergoing compliance investigations of retailers. The purpose of this act is to ensure minors are protected from the health-crippling effects of smoking and tobacco use.

If retailers are found to be selling tobacco products, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, to underage users, the FDA issues a warning letter as part of the violation of tobacco control laws. If a retailer is found to be breaking the law, they may be required to pay a civil financial penalty.

To learn more, please click > FDA’s Warning Letters

Tobacco Control Compliance Investigations

Approximately 30,000 compliance checks have been completed across the country. The FDA has issued over 1,200 warning letters to establishments found violating restrictions of the sale and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The compliance investigations include verifying whether or not the retailer:

  • confirms the customer’s age by asking for photo identification;
  • properly labels and advertises according to law smokeless tobacco products;
  • has for sale single cigarettes;
  • has in place a ban on cigarette products flavored like fruit or candy; and
  • is using vending machines or self-serving cigarette dispensers that have been banned from use.

For more information on the FDAs retailer inspections, please click > Inspection of Retailers

Big Tobacco Gets Intimate with Girls and Women with Kiss Cigarettes

Sorry to say, but we are not making this stuff up.

We were researching internet statistics on how many women and men will not date a smoker. They are turned off by the awful ashtray taste and breath odor and wouldn’t think of kissing someone who repels them.

When googling the phrase “kiss a smoker,” we found listed among the top choices a web page advertising a brand of cigarettes completely designed to entice women and young girls to purchase them to become sexier. At first, I thought the title and description couldn’t be real. It had to be a spoof, right? NOT.

Big Tobacco’s Marketing Scheme

Another search lead me to a discount cigarette website selling this brand. The name: “Kiss.” The marketing copy was horrifying, and completely targeting young girls:

Kiss Brand CigarettesKiss cigarettes are produced under the supervision of the British “Innovation Tobacco Company” using the best tobaccos Virginia and Barley. “Innovation Tobacco Company” cooperates with world’s biggest suppliers, which guarantees high quality of all components of Kiss Menthol cigarettes. Discount Kiss cigarettes are created by the excellent cigarette’s foreign specialists.

Kiss cigarettes are manufactured under control of foreign cigarette specialists. Quality is executed at every technological stage level. The secret of the high-quality of Kiss cigarettes is in the balanced selection of discount cigarettes tobacco leaf, cultivated in various corners of the planet like Greece, Brazil, Argentine and Malawi. Kiss cigarettes blend trend—American blend—is the most popular and fashionable nowadays. Kiss Superslims cigarettes brand answers the girls’ wishes to be economic and offers a very reasonable price.

Kiss cigarettes are for those who feel young, bright, self-confident—and a bit crazy!

Innovative Tobacco Products Annual Report

Kiss CigaretteAgain, I can’t make this stuff up. Here is what it should say:

If you want to see who is getting rich at the expense of young girls and women’s health, check out > Innovative Tobacco Product’s annual report.

Teen Smokers Often Find Depression Follows Taking up Smoking

A commonly admitted reason teenagers have began smoking is that they are seeking a boost for their mood.

Canadian researchers surveyed teen smokers to determine how smoking actually affected their moods.

What they discovered was that smoking can actually depress and not enhance the teens’ mental state of being.

Teenage Smoking and Moods: The Study

The teens were divided into three groups. In one group were the teens who had never smoked. The other two were for teen smokers who smoked for self medicating reasons, and for teens smokers who smoked but not for self medicating reasons.

Using a scale, the participants were asked to rate the occurrence of several moods and depression symptoms, including lethargy, sleep disruption, feelings of sadness or depression, feelings of hopelessness, feeling nervous or tense, and bouts of worry.

Symptoms of Depression

The researchers found that the teen smokers were much more likely to experience depressed moods that the teens who were non-smokers. Furthermore, the teens who reportedly started smoking as a method to increase their moods experienced more frequent depressive symptoms than the teen smokers who did not using smoking as a form of self medication.

Beyond Physical Harm: Emotional Consequences of Smoking

The physical health consequences of smoking are widely known: coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased immunity, increased chance of lung disease or lung issues, increased heart problems or occurrence of heart attack—even increased chance of death as a culmination of these symptoms.

What this study allows us to see are the effects of smoking on emotional health and well being, too. While symptoms of depression do not necessarily lead to the disease depression, they certainly put people at a higher risk. The teenage years can be trying for most adolescents, whether or not smoking is an addiction that is picked up.

Reference: Smoking Seems to Backfire on Teens Hoping for a Lift: http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=642605

Don’t Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke it

Matt Apuzzo, of the Associated Press reported on a tax loophole that many Big Tobacco manufactures quickly jumped on to reduce their tax base.

By cleverly changing product marketing they are effectively dodging taxes that would have gone to support the cost of children’s health insurance.

It didn’t take long for many makers of tobacco products to catch on. They switched gears immediately to take advantage of the different tax rates between cigarette tobacco and loose pipe tobacco.

Roll-your-own brands of loose tobacco like Criss Cross and Farmers Gold were quickly pulled from the shelves of the tobacco shops. In their place new types of pipe tobacco bearing the same labels almost instantaneously appeared.

We all know those who roll their own cigarettes will purchase the “new varieties” of pipe tobacco to beat the rising costs of smoking cigarettes.

What is most worrisome about this move is pipe tobacco is not banned from adding flavors like tobacco companies did to cigarettes.

Now that new types of flavored pipe tobaccos are finding their way on the shelves, this could ignite a whole new movement for hooking young smokers.

The new varieties of packaged pipe tobacco are also manufactured with a finer cut, suitable for rolling in flavors such as black cherry, vanilla, and who knows what else.

Popeye and his PipeThis move did not go unnoticed; The Obama administration is looking into tightening their definitions so hopefully the funding for children’s health care remains effective. This costly loophole may be causing as much as $32 million dollars of lost tax revenue each month because pipe tobacco sales are rising as roll-your-own sales are drastically being reduced.

The tobacco company tax dodging strategy has our wheels turning at CiggyFree.com. Next, we may see tobacco companies reinventing Popeye as their spokesperson. The new product campaigns may just offer disposable pipes that go along with disposable lighters combined with packets of flavored tobacco aimed at enticing young smokers. Would it surprise us? No!

Credit: Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press & Popeye Cartoons

Raising the Smoking Age, Black Market Cigs & 4 Billion for Health Care

This week the news reported several tobacco related stories.

As the senate passes a bill to protect young Americans from the effects and dangers of smoking, smokers are red hot over the recent tax hikes and smoker’s helplines are getting busier by the day.

Also, Big Tobacco is feeling a little pain this week after paying their annual settlements.

Associated Press Reports on Bill SB 1049

The house will soon review a smoking age bill the Senate voted on and passed on April 15th to raise the smoking age from eighteen to nineteen years old.

The goal of this bill is to reduce the number of youth smokers by keeping tobacco products away from high school students.

The Senate vote was twenty-five for, and five against. In the same story it was reported that in the State of Texas alone roughly one-fourth of the high school students smoked cigarettes in 2006.

If this bill passes, the tobacco supply aimed at eighteen year old smokers would not be available legally.

Big Tobacco Yearly Annual Settlements

Also in the news, Philip Morris USA made its annual tobacco payment of four billion dollars as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement which is paid to reimburse states for smoking-related health care costs.

In total, Big Tobacco agreed to make about $206 billion in annual payments over more than two decades.

However, not all states are using the funds as specified.  The American Cancer Society in New England reported that only a small percentage of funds targeted for tobacco prevention programs were allocated. This lack of responsibility is putting children and youth at risk for taking up the nasty tobacco habit.

Red Hot Over Cig Tax Creates Busy Helplines

The tobacco tax in Arizona was only thirty-nine cents a pack a few weeks ago.

With the new government tax add on of a little over a dollar, the Arizona Tax Revenue department is worried about their share of the taxes being undercut due to smokers seeking alternative ways to buy their smokes.

With cigarettes at just under seven dollars a carton in Mexico, black market tobacco products may soon be infiltrating the area along with the resale of cigs purchased at the Indian reservations.

At the same time, calls to the Arizona stop smoking help line are up, as reported by the Tuscon Citizen news.

The Arizona Smoker’s Helpline is web based and offers a test for smokers. It is designed to provide a score on each of six factors that describe individual smoking behaviors. They understand that people phase in and out of wanting to quit and they know how to support smokers in taking the next step to really quit for good.

First learn why you smoke. Is it …

  1. Stimulation – If you smoke for stimulation, try a brisk walk, dance around the room, change your state in another way.
  2. Handling – If you like the way a cigarette feels then try other things to keep your hands busy. Take up a hobby
  3. Increasing Sensation of Pleasure –  Create some new activities in your life that are stimulating and enjoyable without being destructive.
  4. Reducing Negative Feelings – If smoking is a crutch for coping with emotions there are many great programs designed to bring emotional highs and lows into balance.
  5. Cravings or Psychological Addiction – Try products like NicoDrops, nicotine gum or patches to remove your focus on cigarettes while incorporating hobbies and other activities to divert your attention.
  6. The Habit – Begin noticing every cigarette you smoke and ask yourself if you really want it.

Get Free of CigarettesThese six factors are more extensively explained at the Arizona Smoker’s Helpline and offer a way for becoming more conscious about your reasons for smoking. If you are just thinking about quitting their free web-based smoker’s helpline is really worth checking out.

Once you have a better understanding of why you light up, you may be more inclined to know what steps to take to stop your nasty tobacco habit.

Cigarillos: Big Tobacco’s Candy Coated Chicanery

Sales of cigarillos in candy flavours like raspberry and mint chocolate are up 300% in Canada.

Anti-smoking groups fear their popularity could fuel a kid-friendly smoking revival and increase youth smoking.

Cigarillos are cigarette-sized, filtered cigars that come in a variety of enticing flavours and – perhaps most dangerously – can be bought as singles at any corner store where they’re often right next to the candy display. And, according to an ongoing study by the Quebec health ministry, kids are eating them up.

Cool With the Kids

Smoking’s been on the decline among young people – down around 50% – for a decade. But cigarillos are bucking that trend. According to a 2004 survey of Quebec teens, 18% said they’d tried cigars or cigarillos, up from 13% in 2000.

Chances are you’ve seen cigarillo packaging – small plastic tubes that look a lot like those old horoscope rolls – littering sidewalks and storm drains. Though it’s illegal to sell single cigarettes, cigarillos – because they’re classed as cigars – are exempt.

Picture of Candy CigarettesCynics say the tobacco industry is taking advantage of this loophole to get kids hooked on smoking. Big Tobacco denies. “Regardless of their intent, they are still attracting underage children to their product,” Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society told the Toronto Sun. “There’s no doubt that the tobacco industry on the whole is a declining market. And all new smokers begin in their teens or pre-teens.”

Now public health officials are finally taking notice. Quebec’s health minister Philippe Couillard recently announced his department is looking into banning single cigarillos, citing their wide appeal to teens. “These little, coloured, plastic-tipped cigars, fruit or vanilla-scented, are intended for the youth market.

They can easily buy them for about a dollar each. This worries us enormously,” Louis Gauvin, spokesman for the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control told the French-language newspaper La Presse. His organization lodged a formal complaint with the ministry in October, prompting the current study.

“If the law prevented their individual sale and they were sold in packs of 20,” added Mr Gauvin, “a young person might think twice because they’d have to spend over $30 for a pack.”

Swinging Singles

Another issue with cigarillo singles is that, unlike cigarette packs, which feature frightening warnings that take nearly 50% of the packaging, cigarillo tubes only have enough room for tiny text warnings. The main warnings are on the shipping packaging, which the consumer never sees.

A study from the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that Canada’s graphic labels of decaying teeth and cancerous lungs do work to deter people from smoking.

Add to this the fact that cigar smokers tend to underestimate the carcinogenicity of cigars. In fact, cigarillos pose similar hazards to cigarettes; they’re lighter on some chemicals, but heavier on others.

The single cigarillo could also ensnare current smokers who are trying to quit. In smoking cessation, the greatest predictor of a relapse is a lapse. For a quitter, the single cigarillo may feel like less of a slip than buying a pack of 25 smokes, offering a ‘guilt-free’ chance to nurse the cravings – especially if it’s flavoured to taste like a fine single malt scotch.

Source: John Stobo, National Review of Medicine, April 30, 2007|Volume 4, No. 8.