DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Board of Health will hold a public hearing to discuss health concerns over new dissolvable tobacco products being test-marketed in the state.
Some of the new dissolvable tobacco products resemble breath mints and strips, health officials said Friday. Counties throughout Colorado have reported seeing the new products in local stores.
Board president Laura Davis says the hearing Aug. 17 will focus on the new product packaging and flavoring.
“The public health concern is that the composition, packaging and flavoring may have a particular appeal to kids,” Davis said.
Davis said the board set a precedent for intervening in marketing and sales in 1989 when it adopted a resolution opposing the marketing and sale of new tobacco products.
The health department says Colorado research has shown children have easy access to tobacco products, with nearly half the children who purchased tobacco illegally telling officials they were not asked to show any proof of age.
Dr. Chris Urbina, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said there is no research on the new products, but the research on cigarettes and tobacco is conclusive.
“Tobacco is highly addictive, and use of tobacco products can lead to cancer, heart disease and stroke,” Urbina said.
Researchers say more than 80 percent of adults who use tobacco started before the age of 18. Doctors say tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death and is a major driver in health care costs.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)