There's a public health emergency unfolding right before our eyes — and the cause couldn't be clearer.
The tobacco companies are using flavored products to hook kids — and it's working. Flavored tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes, have addicted a new generation of kids and threaten to reverse the decades-long progress Vermont has made in reducing youth tobacco use. Eight out of ten kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.
Vermont can protect kids by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, one of the most promising ways to prevent the industry from addicting our kids.
The tobacco industry uses predatory and relentless tactics to attract new customers and keep people addicted. Big Tobacco continues to use powerful marketing tactics to segment people based on their race, gender and sexual orientation.
In particular, the tobacco industry has used menthol flavors and marketing to racially segment and target certain customers, especially Black Americans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) communities, and youth.
Tobacco companies continue to aggressively market menthol-flavored cigarettes to kids, communities of color and LGBTQ+ folks, 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 and harder to quit.
There are thousands of e-cigarette flavors and over 200 cigar flavors. Flavors like like Cotton Candy, Pink Lemonade, Orange Soda, Cherry Dynamite, Mango Mania, and Cool Mint are still readily available, clearly targeting our kids. 85% of youth e-cigarette users report using flavored products.
Flavored products, especially Juul, fueled a youth e-cigarette epidemic over the last decade. Today, over 2.1 million kids nationally use e-cigarettes. In Vermont 16% of high school students are current e-cigarette users. Kids are not just experimenting, but becoming addicted to these sweet, nicotine-loaded products. Many e-cigarettes can contain as much or more nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.
Are we still debating the ill effects of tobacco? Come on. Ban flavored products.
SAINT ALBANS MESSENGER