If you want children to try an unfamiliar food, put some sugar on it. That was always Grandma's solution for convincing tiny mouths to take that first bite of grapefruit. Food manufacturers have been doing the same thing for years, witness the crunchy, sweet glaze on otherwise healthy but bland shredded wheat.
Cigarette manufacturers have used a similar approach by offering flavored cigarettes -- strawberry, chocolate, lime, toffee, to name a few -- but no more.
Federal officials imposed a ban on the sale of flavored cigarettes on Tuesday, three months after President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, legislation that gave the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Although far fewer people smoke cigarettes than did so 40 years ago, 19.8 percent of adults still smoke. Almost 90 percent of adult smokers picked up the habit as teenagers, and the flavored cigarettes have been more appealing to younger smokers. Studies have found that 17-year-old smokers are three times as likely to use flavored cigarettes as smokers over age 25.
According to the FDA, 3,600 young people start smoking each day. Cigarette manufacturers have targeted younger potential customers by adding sweet flavors, but candy-flavored cigarettes are no less addictive or risky than unflavored ones.