Sweet smokes are targeted at kids, N.Y. Cancer Society says

By Michael Gormley

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 31 2013 7:56 p.m. MDT

ALBANY, N.Y. — They come in brightly colored, shiny packages in fun flavors like chocolate, blueberry, gummy bear, wine and pink berry. But the American Cancer Society says the little cigars and packages of loose tobacco are aimed at kids and are just as deadly as cigarettes.

The American Cancer Society is pushing to make New York the first state to enact a comprehensive restriction on the sale of candy- and fruit-flavored cigarillos, chewing tobacco and tobacco used in water pipes. Its proposal would restrict the sale of all fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco products to tobacco shops, banning those products from convenience stories.

Maine bans the sale of larger "premium" flavored cigars and other states including Maryland have proposed laws, according to the University of Maryland Law School. New York City and Providence, R.I., also have restricted the sale of flavored tobacco.

"If New York acts, it would be the first state in the nation, and turbocharge efforts nationally," said Blair Horner, vice president of advocacy at the American Cancer Society and Cancer Action Network of New York and New Jersey.

The little cigars, chewing tobacco and loose tobacco for use in water pipes are sold individually for as little as 99 cents or in packs and avoid stiff cigarette taxes aimed at dissuading young people from smoking.

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