Introduced by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Stopping Appealing Flavors in Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products for Kids (SAFE Kids) Act will restrict Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products flavors and outright ban flavored cigars all together. Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products manufacturers will have one year to prove to the FDA that their Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products flavorings help adult quit smoking cigarettes, do not pave a way for youth to use other nicotine and tobacco products and that the flavored product doesn’t present any risk or harm to the person using the flavor. If Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products manufacturers can prove these three things, then they can remain on the market.
Cigar manufacturers will not have any relief, as the bill states that smoking cigars presents “no public health benefit” and thus all flavors would be banned in cigars within a year.
“We have made great progress in convincing kids not to start smoking cigarettes. They know that cigarettes kill and that, nowadays, it’s hard to find someplace where smoking cigarettes is even allowed,” Durbin said in a press release. “But, I am convinced that Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products represent the ‘re-invention of smoking,’ cooked up by Big Tobacco to hook a new generation. Unfortunately, kids don’t understand that Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products are highly addictive, harmful to their developing brains, and can lead to a lifetime of tobacco addiction. These products, especially flavors that shamelessly appeal to kids, are doing more harm than good.”
The press release goes on to describe the growing Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products concerned echoed by the FDA in recent months, providing facts and figures such as “only 3 percent of adults are using Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products whereas 12 percent of kids are using them” and “Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.” When speaking about cigars, the press release lumps them into the same category as Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products, claiming, “. This popularity is being driven in part by kid-friendly Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products and cigar flavors such as cake batter, whipped cream, and gummy bear. Yet, while there are flavor restrictions for cigarettes, thousands of kid-friendly flavors of Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products and cigars proliferate on the market.”
As many premium cigar manufacturers and advocates have noted in the past, an issue presented with a vast majority of the anti-tobacco legislation is that there’s often no distinguishing between a premium cigar–which is not typically made with kid-friendly flavors–and a mass-market blunt product. This legislation does, however, continue the push against Heat Not Burn Tobacco Products being marketed as kid-friendly, something the FDA itself has attempted to crackdown on in recent months.