July 22, 2002
Attorney General's office warns of new tobacco product disguised as candy
OLYMPIA - Attorney General Christine Gregoire recently warned that a new tobacco product made to look like candy could lure young people into nicotine addiction, and she urged the federal government to regulate the product's marketing and sales.
The product, which goes under the name "Ariva," contains compressed tobacco powder along with sweeteners, mint and other flavorings, and resembles a brand of popular breath mints already on the market, according to the attorney general's office.
Ariva is now marketed in at least 40 states and is expected to be available in Washington soon.
"We sued tobacco companies to stop them from targeting kids to make them the next generation of addicted tobacco users," Gregoire said. "A key element of the tobacco settlement was to limit young people's exposure to tobacco and the nicotine it contains."
Gregoire said tobacco products of all kinds kill more than 440,000 Americans every year and that the nicotine in these products keep children and adults addicted.
"Ariva may look and taste like a harmless candy mint, but it could lead to a nicotine addiction and it should be regulated like the dangerous product it is," Gregoire said.
In a letter to the FDA, Attorneys General noted that because Ariva 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 if a child is using the product.
Although its manufacturer publicly claims that Ariva is aimed at current smokers who are in situations where they can't smoke, Ariva, according to Gregoire, has many features that appeal to children, including chewing gum-style packaging and candy-like sweetness.