by Kirk Hawkins
CHARLOTTE, N.C.–Camel’s Orbs are smokeless tobacco products available on store shelves across the Charlotte area. The Food & Drug Administration is looking to regulate these and other cigarette alternatives because they say they are marketed to kids.
“By decreasing the size of the cigars and adding flavors to it, the tobacco companies hope to get more people addicted to their products,” said Selay Demir. A senior at Myers Park High School. Demir has been working toward a tobacco free North Carolina with Youth Empowered Solutions since the parents of two close friends passed away. “They never used any type of tobacco product in their life and their death was the result of people who had been smoking,” Demir said.
Those types of products are sold at convenience stores. But, cigar shops say the feds are targeting them. Craig Cass owns the Tinder Box in South Charlotte. Cass said the F.D.A. is looking into a regulatory model that would force him to shut down his walk in humidor and sell premium cigars
behind the counter. “This product involves all five senses. You wanna touch it. You wanna feel it. You wanna look at the coloration of the wrapper, you wanna smell it and if the products had to be sold away from the counter it would be devastating to our industry,” said Cass.
While some hope the F.D.A.’s proposal would snuff out youth addiction, others say their businesses would go up in smoke.
A vote could be possible later this fall.