Clove-Flavored Cigarettes More Dangerous?

Tobacco experts welcome ban on flavored cigarettes, especially cloves.

ByABC News
October 8, 2009, 10:11 AM

Oct. 10, 2009— -- Twenty-two-year-old college student Michael Bell is not the only young adult who began his smoking habit with clove cigarettes. And he knows why the Food and Drug Administration recently announced a ban on clove and other flavored cigarettes.

"Cloves are totally a gateway cigarette, that's what I used to smoke in high school," said Bell, who now smokes regular cigarettes. "My friends and I would buy a pack of cloves and sit around and all smoke a pack."

The sweet-smelling flavored cigarettes that leave a cooling sensation in your mouth have long been popular among teens and young adults, so the FDA's ban has left many teenagers troubled.

"My girlfriend absolutely loves cloves and she was so upset," said Bell, of Scottsdale Ariz., who attends Boston College. "I know one kid who even bought six packs [before the ban] just to have because he loves them so much."

Health care officials have long complained that flavored cigarettes lure young people into a lifetime of nicotine addiction. Two weeks ago, the FDA banned clove and all fruit-flavored cigarettes as part of a national effort to reduce teen smoking in the U.S.

"These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers," Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of food and drugs, said when announcing the ban.

It was the first major FDA action against tobacco manufacturers since being granted the right to regulate cigarettes under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed by President Obama in June.

The ban affects not just flavored tobacco, but flavored filters and cigarette rolling papers that contain "…strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee,"according to a statement released by the FDA.

The rules will make it next to impossible for teens to obtain or even roll their own, flavored cigarettes.