Attorney General Hardy Myers today called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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.
"Nicotine candy a killer product for Oregonians with a sweet tooth," Myers said. "Here we have a product where sugar and spice aren't everything nice. Thousands of Oregon citizens are killed every year by tobacco-related products and this one is no different. Manufacturers can cover it up with sugar and mint but it's full of nicotine and will keep children and adults addicted and unhealthy."
Myers today joined 42 other Attorneys General in presenting written comments to the FDA, warning 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 teachers 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. According to the company's web site, Ariva is currently available in certain test sites, the closest to Oregon being in Las Vegas, Nevada. Barring some action by the FDA to limit sales, the company plans to market the product in all of the states.
Myers and the other Attorneys General told the FDA that the marketing and packaging for Ariva falsely imply that the product is a healthy alternative to smoking, when in fact it contains toxic and cancer-causing substances. The Attorneys General also noted that Ariva is similar to nicotine water, nicotine lollipops and nicotine lip-balm, which the FDA recently determined to be unapproved drugs.
Joining Oregon in signing the FDA letter are Attorneys General from the following states and territories: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, 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.
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002
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