Cigarettes flavored with fruit, candy or cloves became illegal in the United States on Tuesday under a new law aimed at cutting down on smoking, especially among children, officials said.
"These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers," said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, announcing the ban.
The vast majority of adult smokers taking up the habit as teens, and are more attracted to flavored cigarettes and tobacco products than to unflavored ones, according to the FDA, which is also mulling regulating menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes, the agency said.
According to the federal food and drug watchdog, studies have shown that 17-year-old smokers are three times as likely to use flavored cigarettes as smokers over the age of 25.
"Flavored cigarettes attract and allure kids into lifetime addiction," said Assistant Secretary of Health Howard Koh in a statement.
"FDA's ban on these cigarettes will break that cycle for the more than 3,600 young people who start smoking daily," Koh said.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.