Continuing consumers of clove and flavored cigarettes may have to find an alternative.
Sept. 22 marked the official commencement of The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which put a ban on all clove and flavored cigarettes – excluding menthol.
The ban, which is only one component of the act, aims to deter the younger market from smoking, since cigarette companies often market clove and flavored cigarettes to this age group.
Senior economics major Sim Huynh agrees with this assessment.
“Younger kids think [flavored and clove cigarettes] are cool and don’t smell like cigarettes so they’d be more willing to try,” Huynh said.
This tendency for youths to be drawn to candy and fruit flavors, such as cherry, chocolate mocha and grape, is the foundation of the government’s argument to take this type of tobacco off the shelves.
The American Lung Association supported the power the measure gives to the Food and Drug Administration in regulating the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco. Clove and flavored cigarettes produce a “masking” effect that makes it easier for children to become addicted to nicotine, according to the ALA website.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids further underscores the value tobacco companies place on recruiting youngsters.
“As companies know, the vast majority of all smokers begin their addictive habit before they reach 18,” the campaign said on their website.
“Younger students smoke flavored cigarettes and get addicted to them,” junior Kalem Ginsberg said. “I think the ban is good. I’ve been trying to quit since the beginning of the year.”
However, naysayers argue that allowing the FDA’s reign over tobacco regulation will do little to prevent the younger population from lighting up. Kretek International Inc., previously responsible for 97 percent of the U.S.’s clove cigarette market, has already begun selling small clove and flavored cigars, which the ban does not prohibit.
Clove cigarettes account for about 65 percent of the company’s business, with Djarum clove cigarettes being one of their most popular items. These clove cigarettes are imported mainly from Indonesia, which has raised protest over the ban’s potential impact on the country’s four million clove farmers.
However, a Kretek International Inc. representative said that the impact on the number of smokers will be minimal because less than two-tenths of one percent of all smoking is from clove cigarettes.
Apart from criticism that the target of the ban is a relatively small portion of the tobacco industry, the act has come under fire for other reasons, mainly the exemption of menthol cigarettes from the ban.
Currently, Philip Morris – the company behind Marlboro – is the largest menthol producer in the U.S. According to the American Legacy Foundation, an organization working to combat the negative effects of smoking, 44 percent of teenagers from the ages of 12 to 17 who smoke choose menthol cigarettes.
Philip Morris issued a press release stating it believes the act is an opportunity to establish a comprehensive national tobacco policy.
Janis and Terence Lott, owners of the Davis store The Newsbeat, were more concerned about the ambiguity of the act than the actual purpose it serves. Newsbeat has been a vendor of Kretek tobacco products.
They supported compliance with the new regulations, but determining what exactly those regulations are is the challenge, they said.
“[The FDA] didn’t communicate to retailers what was not going to be legal,” Janis Lott said.
She said that even after the ban went into affect she received e-mails adding on to the list of what is now prohibited to sell.
“We can’t plan the inventory if they don’t make the rules clear,” Terence Lott said.
In addition to the newly illegal products, the law also forbids tobacco manufacturers from sponsoring sporting, athletic, and entertainment events using tobacco product brand names and logos.
Phillip Morris could not be reached by press time.
KELLEY REES can be reached at email@example.com.