Tobacco companies hook our kids with enticing flavors like gummy bear, cotton candy, mango and “smooth menthol.” San Jose legislators can protect our kids by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products – including flavored e-cigarettes, cigars and menthol cigarettes.
There’s a public health emergency unfolding right before our eyes — and the cause couldn’t be clearer.
One in four San Jose high school students have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. In fact, youth e-cigarette use has skyrocketed to what the U.S. Surgeon General and FDA have called “epidemic” levels.
The main cause of the problem was Juul, a sleek, high-tech e-cigarette that looks like a USB flash drive. Juul is small and easy to hide, comes in sweet flavors that entice kids and delivers a powerful nicotine hit. One Juul pod delivers as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.
There are now over 15,500 e-cigarette flavors and 200 cigar flavors, and more keep coming. These flavored tobacco products undermine San Jose’s efforts to reduce youth tobacco use:
Tobacco companies also continue to aggressively market menthol-favored cigarettes to kids, Blacks and other demographic groups as they have for decades. Youth smokers are more likely to use menthol cigarettes than any other age group. Menthol cigarettes pose a tremendous public health threat — they make it easier to start smoking and harder to quit.
Blacks smoke menthol cigarettes at high rates and quit smoking at lower rates, and Black men have high death rates from lung cancer. That’s why the NAACP and others want to restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes — because they disproportionately hurt Black communities.