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California Tobacco Importer Finds a Way Around Federal Ban

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Aired 9/7/09

The Food and Drug Administration will start enforcing a ban on flavored cigarettes next month. But a California based importer of clove-flavored cigarettes has found a way around the new law.

— The Food and Drug Administration will start enforcing a ban on flavored cigarettes next month. But a California based importer of clove-flavored cigarettes has found a way around the new law.

Kretek International is the nation's largest importer of clove cigarettes. To circumvent the ban on flavored cigarettes, the company plans to sell small clove-scented cigars.

Cigars are not included in the new FDA ban.

Debra Kelley is with the San Diego County chapter of the American Lung Association. She says a lot of young people start smoking with clove-flavored tobacco.

"They're really aimed at kids," Kelley says. "A lot of adults even today have never even heard of this product. But we know from talking to kids and some studies that have been done, that kids perceive these as natural cigarettes."

Researchers say clove cigarettes may be more dangerous than regular cigarettes, because they contain higher levels of tar and nicotine.

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