Philly Health Commissioner says flavored tobacco attracts kids

At a Philadelphia City Hall news conference, health commissioner Dr. Tom Farley talks about the small fruit-flavored cigars known as cigarillos.

Many are being purchased by underage teens at corner stores and neighborhood markets.

He said, "They're sold at 4 for 99 cents or 5 for 99 cents. So these are the penny candy of tobacco products. They're deliberately meant to attract kids."

And Dr. Farley believes they're the reason cigar smoking has doubled among teens in Philadelphia.

And he says once they get hooked on tobacco through the cigarillos, many move on to cigarettes -, menthol cigarettes in particular.

The menthol eases the harshness on the throat, keeping young people hooked.

Heavy advertising in minority neighborhoods also promotes smoking.

Community activists urge residents to fight back against Big Tobacco.

Mark Harrell of the SW Community Development Corp said, "People in the city of Philadelphia need to call their city council persons, and let them know that in the city of Philadelphia, we need to stop the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products."

----------
Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.