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Providing criminal defense services to
clients throughout the East Bay and
its surrounding areas.

Youth attracted to candy and fruit flavored tobacco products

It is illegal for a minor to smoke a cigarette or cigar in the State of California. Doing so can result in a monetary fine, community service, school suspension or other penalties. While this may seem like a seemingly minor offense compared to other juvenile crimes, it should still be taken seriously. Smoking often leads to alcohol consumption and drug use. Teens frequently turn to shoplifting to get their nicotine fix as well.

The FDA banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, largely because of the attractiveness of such products to children and teenagers. Menthol cigarettes were not included in the ban, but in July of this year the FDA noted that these too are enticing more youth to start smoking. The ban does not extend to fruit and candy flavored cigars, which are smaller in size and closely resemble cigarettes and contain the same toxins. A survey recently released by government officials states that just over 42 percent of middle- and high-school students smoke flavored cigars or menthol cigarettes. The government and tobacco-free organizations are now lobbying for stricter FDA regulations on such products, as well as flavored e-cigarettes. Experimentation of e-cigs doubled among teenagers from 2011 to 2012.

If your child is charged with a juvenile crime such as smoking, underage drinking, shoplifting or drug usage, it is a good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the differences in juvenile and adult criminal system. Even small nuances in the law can make a big difference in your child’s future.

Source: USA Today, “Flavors lure 42% of young smokers,” Wendy Koch, Oct. 22, 2013.

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