In February 2000, in the monthly bulletin of news on policy abuses research carried out by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with reference to the Advocacy Institute, it was concluded that ‘herbal cigarettes are unsafe’, but popular among minors. The manuscript underlined that herbal cigarettes, marketed as a healthier alternative to tobacco and smoking cessation, are extremely attractive for young people. In the previous two years, the sales of such brands as Ecstasy rocketed to 350%. Ecstasy, Herbal Gold and the far-famed Magic ciggys come with ginseng, jasmine and heaps of other herbs in the composition, and therefore not subject to restrictions on sales to minors. Because teens tend to copy adults’ behavior, herbal cigarettes are a means to teach them to smoke, and the brand sophisticatedly promotes Ecstasy among teenagers.
On April 27 of same year, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States issued a statement, indicating the nature of deceptive advertising of alternative cigarettes and required companies to designate herbal cigarettes harm to health.
In this statement, an official response to the actions of two businesses: Santa Fe and Alternative Cigarettes, in particular, states that manufacturers that produce alternative cigarettes, agreed to explicitly indicate ‘smoking herbal cigarettes is not safe for your health; the cigarettes are the source of tar and carbon monoxide’ signature on the packaging and advertising of herbal cigarettes. It should be noted that on some web pages touting herbal cigarettes, now the above-mentioned warning is also indicated.
Such instructions on the package may be excluded only if the data on research results showing that herbal smoking products do not cause any health risk is provided.
As stated by Jodie Bernstein, Office of Consumer Protection (FTC) director, this cigarettes type is promoted under the aura of ‘natural products’, but in fact they are neither healthier nor safer. Actually, there is no such thing as ‘safe smoke’; in the article on herbal cigarettes posted on (Natural Health Magazine) herbal-health.uk website, a digital herbal medicine treasury, boasting numerous articles on herbal medicine, it is argued that cigarette smoke, just like smoke of tobacco cigarettes , is a source of toxins, carcinogens, resins and carbon monoxide.
In addition, after FTC forced manufacturers to place warnings on cigarette packs and baned the packages indicating that ‘herbal cigarettes that do not cause a health risk that is associated with tobacco smoking’ as well as any other statements on health effects, until they are not supported by the research results, the initiative was supported by state authorities.
Following the FTC statement in May 2000, there have been reports that state legislatures began to unanimously put herbal cigarettes sales to minors under a ban.
In New York the Act on Prevention of adolescent tobacco use, in particular, in the 2002 version, says that salespeople do not have the right to sell tobacco or herbal cigarettes to persons under 18 years of age, otherwise they risk to be fined $2,500 and lose the certificate for trade in tobacco and herbal products, loss of license.