Authorities Urged To Ban 'Gateway' Flavoured Cigarettes

They have been designed to make the cigarettes more palatable to young people, masking the taste of tobacco and smoke through squeezable flavour capsules.

The demand for these flavoured cigarettes is growing at an exponential rate, according to data in the British Medical Journal's Tobacco Control journal.

The study shows it's the fastest growing segment of the world wide combustible tobacco market.

The introduction of flavoured smokes will act as a gateway for people to become more taken with cigarettes and make it easier for them to start, Quit Victoria Policy Manager Kylie Lindorff said in a statement.

New smokers are more likely to smoke flavoured rather than non-flavoured cigarettes.

"The tobacco industry is working incredibly hard to change this (a reduction in people taking up smoking) by targeting young people with 'fun' and 'cool' products such as flavour capsule cigarettes."

Flavoured cigarettes typically contain a small capsule in the filter of the cigarette containing fruit or menthol essence. When squeezed they are released into the smoke and inhaled by the user.

Susceptible non-smokers find these flavour capsule variety of cigarettes far more appealing, according to a study released earlier this year by the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Example of dual squeeze ball cigarette. Dual squeeze ball products were introduced into Australia in 2017. IMAGE SUPPLIED

It found people are more than three times more likely to choose a flavoured cigarette in comparison to a non-flavoured one.

Professor Janet Hoek believes the fact non-smokers are more inclined to smoke these flavoured cigarettes, governments must update their litigation surrounding them accordingly.

Flavoured cigarettes are regularly either menthol or fruit flavoured to mask the taste of tobacco and smoke. Photo Credit: AAP

“Evidence that flavour capsules are more appealing to non-smokers than to smokers suggests policy makers need to be vigilant and ensure product innovations cannot undermine smoke-free goals,” she told the university's website.

Most of Australia's major cigarette brands including Marlboro, Peter Jackson and Winfield all sell at least one variety of their product containing these flavour capsules.

Lindorff said the demand for flavoured cigarettes will only grow, which in turn will cause more health problems for young people if the Australian Government takes immediate action.

Most of Australia's biggest selling cigarette brands have at least one variety of flavoured cigarette. Photo Credit: AAP

“The product range and popularity of flavour capsule cigarettes will only continue to grow unless governments take serious action to ban these products. Other countries are moving to stop their sale, but we’ve seen no action from state or federal governments in Australia."

Australia is currently behind the trend of banning these flavoured variety of cigarettes.

Brazil and a number of European countries including the UK are planning to ban their use by 2020, while Canada is one of four countries to have already implemented a ban.

Contact the author. mgay@networkten.com.au

Feature Image: AAP