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For Immediate Release
July 16, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN CALLS ON FDA TO REGULATE
NEW "TOBACCO CANDY" PRODUCT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., 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 resembles 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.

"Ariva is a mint-flavored, candy-like product that contains nicotine. It’s unfortunate that companies think it’s acceptable to make products like Ariva, which can be appealing to children," Attorney General Curran said.

In written comments presented today to the FDA, 41 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 educators 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.

Curran and Attorneys General from the following states and territories, co-signed the FDA letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, 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.

In 1999, Curran urged federal officials and Congressional representatives to take action to stop the importation of hand-rolled, candy-flavored cigarettes called Bidis, which were manufactured primarily in India. And, in 2000, Curran’s Consumer Protection Division issued cease and desist orders to halt the sale of Bidis to children via the Internet.

More information about Maryland’s lawsuit against Big Tobacco and the Attorney General’s initiative to curb youth access to tobacco products in Maryland’s retail stores, can be found at www.oag.state.md.us.

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