Tobacco companies are now targeting kids with a sweet incentive. New candy-flavored tobacco products are hitting the shelves of area convenience stores and 16-year-old Marisa Santoyo-Solorio says it’s catching the attention of her peers.

“You’d be surprised at how many kids use it,” she says.

According to the Collier County Health Department, in 2010, nearly 18% of the county’s youth ages 11-17 have tried flavored tobacco.

In Charlotte County, the health department reports that in 2010, 13% of high school students have tried smokeless tobacco.

“These are the starter producers for 90% of youth that start smoking,” says Jennifer Smith of the Collier County Health Department.

Products like Swisher Sweets, Skoal, and a new product, Orbs, are offered in a variety of flavors and eye-catching packages.

“It smells like candy, looks like candy, colorful so it brings your attention,” Marisa says.

The Collier County Health Department says that this is just another way the nicotine industry is targeting the younger generation.

“They know they like candy and sweets so if they can produce the product, the youth will be more susceptible to try those products,” Smith says.

The FDA is looking to regulate flavored tobacco, and Collier County commissioners have actually passed a resolution urging local vendors to stop selling it.