Anti-Smoking Advocates Say 'Fun' Cigarettes Target Teens

Anti-smoking advocates say the tobacco industry is using fun flavors and fashionable images to target youth.

Anti-smoking advocates say the tobacco industry is using fun flavors and fashionable images to target youth. "Those are so cool looking," said 15- year-old Megan Vilcans, about the gold filters and multi-coloRed Cigarettes. That reaction is exactly what the tobacco industry is hoping for, according to a new report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Three million U.S. kids under 18 are already smokers, but the report says the industry is going for More with its latest round of products. "Looks like candy," said one parent. Other lures include fruity flavors to make smoking less harsh for new smokers, high fashion images and urban themes. "The way we, young people function around these days, it most likely would attract us, if it matches with your outfit," said 16-year-old Tymisha Singletary. Danny McGoldrick with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said tobacco industry knows exactly what they are doing, "They know how to design the pack to make them attractive and create an image around their product that despite all we know about the dangers of smoking, kids are still drawn to it." Inside the filters of the flavoRed Cigarettes, the group's researchers found a tiny blue pellet. Tests showed it contained almost forty dangerous chemicals. The group is backing legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the tobacco industry. Under two bills making their way through congress, 30 percent of the cigarette packs would be the surgeon general's warning label. "They're pretty, but I don't want 'em," said teen Megan Vilcans. Whether teens choose to light up, tobacco maker R.J. Reynolds says it's not interested in marketing to teens, only adults and trying to woo the adults from other brands. Brendan McCormick with Philip Morris said they works to prevent teens from using tobacco products, " We work with retailers to prevent access to retail." The report also claims the lack of federal regulation allows tobacco makers to engineer products to sustain addiction and discourage current users from quitting.

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