Campaign seeks ban on candy flavored tobacco

By Raquel Garcia….

From left to right Pat Shields, Niesha Adderley, Valencia Morris, Jakiese Abside, Daisy Harrell, and Donna Shelley at city hall after making a presentation to the city commission.

Former resident Valencia Morris of the Miami-Dade County Health Department is on a mission to have all candy flavored tobacco products banned from South Miami.

Morris and representatives from the South Miami Alliance for Youth recently spoke at city hall in hopes the mayor and city commissioners might pass a resolution in support of their efforts to ban sales of candy flavored tobacco that appear to specifically target young people.

Accompanied by youngsters Jakiese Abside, age 13, and Niesha Adderley, 14, wearing their SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) t-shirts, Morris also showcased a large poster board display creatively designed to highlight the colorful candy-like enticing products purportedly aimed at adolescent buyers.

“The colorful wrapping in the packages, the pattern designs that mimic the look of an X-Box game, these are all strategically marketed to appeal to young people,” says Morris.

According to the Department of Health, 17 year old smokers are three times as likely to use flavored cigarettes as smokers over the age of 25. Products like grape flavored cigars, berry flavored spit tobacco and new dissolvable tobacco laden stimulants like Camel Sticks, Strips, and Orbs are all targets of the campaign.

The call to action for the city commission resolution is part of an ongoing education initiative of the Florida Department of Health. So far 19 counties in the state have adopted the resolution and 24 cities, including Miami Beach.

The Miami Beach resolution language stipulates the types of flavored tobacco that are susceptible to youth as “loose tobacco, snuff flour, plug and twist tobacco, fine cuts, chewing tobacco, snus, shisha tobacco, smoking or snuff tobacco products and blunt wraps prepared in such a manner with the purpose of chewing, inhaling, smoking or ingesting in any manner in which the product or any of its component parts contain, as a constituent or additive, an artificial or natural flavor or an herb or spice, including but not limited to strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, coffee, or alcohol flavors, that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke.”

New York City has successfully banned the sale of all flavored tobacco products and Wisconsin and Illinois have instituted a state-wide ban.

For more information regarding the candy flavored tobacco banning initiative contact the Florida Department of Health Miami-Dade County Health Department at 305-234-5400.

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