New federal law bans flavored cigarettes

Tobacco shops may find it tough to survive under a Food and Drug Administration regulation, which was recently signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act illegalizes clove, candy, fruit and spiced cigarettes to curb youth-focused marketing. Menthol flavoring is an exception.

Additionally, the use of words such as “light” and “mild” will be banned by July 2010, and tobacco product ingredients will be required to appear on packaging, according to a White House Press release.

Nazim Uddin, owner of Gator Tobacco in Gainesville, Fla., said business has already slowed down since the law was passed.

“It is affecting us big time,” Uddin said. “This law was a big surprise.”

Uddin does not believe that banning flavored cigarettes will prevent kids from smoking; however, he said he does think that it may eventually mean the end of his store.

“We have to pay the rent. We have to pay the employees. The day is going to come that we are going to close down,” Uddin said.

Pat Patton, an owner of Modern Age Tobacco in Gainesville, Fla., is a bit more optimistic.

“There’s no telling [what is to come] really until it happens, until we’ve been dealing with it for a couple of weeks,” Patton said. “People aren’t going to quit smoking. I’m curious to see what they’re going to change to.”

Hookah tobacco is exempt from the flavored tobacco prohibition; however the law will double the price of the product, according to Nick Farah, owner of Farah’s on the Avenue in Gainesville, Fla.

“The law really doesn’t affect us except on a tax structure basis. Next time we buy, I’m sure that the cost of goods will be greater. But I don’t believe it will affect our business,” Farah said.

-Alexandra Layos

Independent Florida Alligator, U. Florida