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19.7.2002, Aribert Deckers
(SACRAMENTO) - Attorney General Bill Lockyer today called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to halt the marketing of a dangerous new candy-like tobacco product called "Ariva." Ariva looks like a small breath mint, but it delivers as much nicotine as smoking a cigarette. The product contains compressed tobacco powder along with sweeteners, mint and other flavorings. Virginia-based Star Scientific Inc. makes Ariva, and plans to market it nationwide.
"Nicotine is the key ingredient which addicts people to tobacco products that kill more than 440,000 Americans every year," Lockyer said. "By regulating this new tobacco candy, the FDA can protect current and future generations of children from nicotine addiction."
In written comments presented today to the FDA, 42 Attorneys General warned that Ariva raises serious public health concerns warranting the FDA's immediate attention. The Attorneys General noted that because the product looks like a breath mint and does not emit smoke or strong tobacco odors when used, parents and teachers may not be able to determine when a child is using this addictive and hazardous substance. Although Star publicly claims that its product is for current smokers, Ariva has many features that appeal to children including: chewing gum-style packaging and candy-like sweetness. The Attorneys General told the FDA that the marketing and packaging for Ariva falsely implies that the product is a healthy alternative to smoking, when in fact it contains toxic and cancer-causing substances. The Attorneys General noted that Ariva is similar to nicotine water, nicotine lollipops and nicotine lip-balm, which the FDA recently regulated as illegal drugs.
In addition to Lockyer, Attorneys General from the following states and territories co-signed the FDA letter (see attached PDF): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The Attorneys General comment letter supports a petition calling for FDA regulation of Ariva submitted last year by numerous public health and medical organizations, including: the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Legacy Foundation and numerous other major public health organizations.
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