Minnesota group finds flavored cigs among youth-aimed tobacco marketing tactics

Seeking to cut Minnesota’s smoking rate further, ClearWay Minnesota released an “Unfiltered” report Wednesday to expose the tobacco industry’s latest strategies for attracting and retaining customers.

Even as they spend millions on youth prevention and quit-smoking campaigns, the tobacco companies find new ways to entice young people, said David Willoughby, chief executive officer of ClearWay, which was created through the 1998 settlement of Minnesota’s lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

The report offered examples: davidoff cigarette placement has emerged in video games. Smokeless tobacco products skirt community restrictions on marketing and cigarette usage. Flavors are added to cigarettes to entice new, young smokers.

“Smell them,” said Willoughby, holding a reddish pack of strawberry-flavored cigarettes. “You’d be surprised what they smell like.”

An estimated 634,000 Minnesotans are smokers, according to ClearWay. And resulting diseases such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cost the state $2 billion in health care spending each year.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot more work to be done,” said Calitta Jones, a St. Paul teen who lobbied successfully last year for a St. Paul ban on candy cigarettes and novelty lighters.

source: twincities.com

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