In November 2012, the last of Hillsborough County’s municipalities adopted a candy-flavored tobacco resolution. In the document, the Plant City Commissioners unanimously urged all Plant City tobacco retailers to make every effort not to sell tobacco products, especially those with candy and or fruit flavors, to youth under 18 years of age. Within the past year, the
Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners, and city councils in Tampa and Temple Terrace adopted similar resolutions. One might ask, “Isn’t that Florida law already?”. Yes, it is. However, the action accomplished a more fundamental task; that of sending a message. To Plant City youth it confirmed that the leaders care about their health. To Big Tobacco it indicated an awareness of their subtle and deceptive tactics. In recent years, tobacco manufacturers have found it profitable to market flavored cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and related products that are particularly attractive to youth by using loopholes in public policy. This happened particularly after the President of the United States signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, in which the Food and Drug Administration placed a ban on “flavored cigarettes” in September 2009.
Given the reality that tobacco companies have consistently looked to their own interests as opposed to the health of the public, the question is what to do next. Simply put; continue the fight for your health. Fight by continued collaboration with community decision makers, partners, and organizations. Fight by continued support and implementation of comprehensive, multi-faceted prevention approaches that are evidenced-based. Finally, fight so that generations to come can be strong, united, and resilient against the wiles of Big Tobacco.