- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2002

CHESTER, Va. (AP) The attorneys general of 42 states want the Food and Drug Administration to regulate sales of a tobacco lozenge made by a Virginia cigarette company.

Ariva, manufactured by Star Scientific Inc. of Chester, is made of compressed tobacco flavored with eucalyptus. It delivers a dose of nicotine equal to a cigarette. The company promotes Ariva as an alternative for smokers when they are in places where smoking is banned.

Star Scientific began test-marketing Ariva in November and said it now sells the lozenges at 30,000 stores in 40 states.

The attorneys general said that Ariva has never been tested for safety and that its bright packaging and sweet taste could appeal to children.

They submitted their comments to the FDA on Monday.

"Tobacco-laced candy is the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing," Michigan Attorney General Jennifer M. Granhold said. "Adding a little sugar and a pretty wrapper can't disguise the fact that tobacco is a killer."

FDA spokeswoman Kathleen Kolar said yesterday that the FDA is reviewing the matter.

Major tobacco-producing states, including Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia did not join the appeal to the FDA.

Star Scientific contends that Ariva is neither a food nor a drug, and thus cannot be regulated by the FDA.

Paul L. Perito, Star president and chief operating officer, denied Ariva is candy and said the company prefers to call it a "cigalett." Ariva packages contain warning labels that say it is not for children.

The FDA regulates kick-the-habit products such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum made by pharmaceutical companies. But the Supreme Court has ruled that the agency has no authority over tobacco products.

The FDA has taken action recently against such products as nicotine-laced water, nicotine lollipops and nicotine lip balm.

Those were being marketed as products to help people quit smoking.

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