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New York should limit sale of flavored tobacco

It does not take a parent to tell you that children will be attracted to anything that tastes like milk chocolate, bubble gum or fruit. If something tastes good, children will consume it. Big Tobacco companies used this knowledge to create tobacco products with dessert and fruit flavorings in an effort to trap and reel in our preteens and teens and get them hooked on tobacco. Tobacco flavorings are intended to mask the harsh, toxic properties of tobacco smoke and spit tobacco, making them more appealing to children.

It appears their underhanded, despicable tactics are working. Most smokers/tobacco users start before the age of 18. Not surprisingly, the use of non-cigarette tobacco products among children is on the rise. In my opinion, it is absolutely appalling that tobacco products with these flavorings are legally sold in New York State. New York City has already restricted access to flavored tobacco. It is about time that New York State does the same thing.

In 2009, Congress enacted the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which banned cigarettes with any flavoring agents other than menthol. Sadly, other tobacco products like cigarillos, snuff and other smokeless tobacco products were not included in the prohibition. This must change.

I believe that a restriction to adult-only stores for the sale of flavored tobacco is a much-needed step to protect our children. We should be working to reduce their risk of nicotine addiction and the lethal effects of tobacco. This common-sense regulation would prevent lifelong use that leads to tobacco-related illnesses, increased medical costs and deaths.

Laura Hoover-Scott

Buffalo