Some in the public health community have expressed concern that tobacco products with characterizing flavors other than tobacco are packaged, advertised, and marketed in a manner that may appeal to youth.
Altria’s tobacco companies share the concerns of the public health community and other stakeholders regarding underage tobacco use. As leaders in responsibly providing adult tobacco consumers with superior branded products, we take this responsibility seriously, and work to meet it by:
- packaging and labeling our products responsibly;
- focusing on marketing methods that are designed to limit reach to unintended audiences; and
- supporting and developing programs to help prevent underage tobacco use while promoting positive youth development.
Altria’s tobacco companies support the enactment of appropriate federal and state legislation to help prevent underage access to tobacco products. They support making all tobacco product sales non-self-service and supporting efforts to enhance and enforce minimum age laws.
We share concerns over some manufacturers’ use of youth-oriented candy trademarks and believe FDA should immediately address such activity. However, prohibition of all tobacco products with characterizing flavors other than tobacco is not an effective way to address the issue of underage tobacco use and is unfair to those adult tobacco consumers who may prefer such flavor varieties.
On March 20, 2018, FDA issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for characterizing flavors. This Notice is the start of a long term process that must be based on the science and evidence and consider any potential unintended consequences. Importantly, FDA recognizes the important role flavors may play in smokers choosing to transition to potentially less harmful products.
Congressional legislation recognizes that, while adult cigarette smokers have not shown a significant historical or current interest in cigarettes with characterizing flavors other than tobacco and menthol, there is a long history of adult consumer interest in flavor varieties in other tobacco products. In addition to respecting the choices of adult tobacco consumers, Congress recognized that a ban on such products could produce serious adverse consequences, such as fueling a black market for the prohibited products that would in turn undermine public health objectives.
Altria's tobacco operating companies support three websites: