NYC Coalition Against Tobacco Flavors: We Can't Wait for Washington to Protect Kids from Nicotine Addiction
Coalition of more than 100 Groups to Hold Emergency Rally, Demand City Council Pass Tobacco Flavors Bills
NEW YORK, NY (09/12/2019) (readMedia)-- In response to the Trump Administration announcing that it may move to end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, Flavors Hook Kids NYC - a local coalition of more than 100 groups representing parents, social justice organizations, health care professionals, and community groups - issued the following statement from Campaign Manager Andre Richardson:
"While the news yesterday out of Washington is promising, it is as critical as ever that New York City take immediate action to address this crisis and protect kids. Tobacco companies will do everything they can to delay and weaken this federal proposal and then fight it in court. And the FDA could later allow flavored products back on the market. We are dealing with a public health emergency and cannot afford more delays in protecting New York kids. The New York City Council must act now to protect kids by cracking down on all flavored tobacco products.
"We've been waiting over a decade for the FDA to take action and stop the sale of all flavored tobacco products – not just e-cigarettes. The crisis is too serious in New York to wait for Washington on flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. More than 14 percent of city high school students used an e-cigarette last year and half of youth smokers smoke menthol cigarettes. The potential federal action also doesn't include restrictions on menthol cigarettes.
The Speaker of the City Council recently backed a ban on e-cigarette flavors and nearly half the Council now supports a ban on menthol cigarettes. Both bills must be voted on as soon as possible to end the epidemic of youth nicotine addiction in New York. We will rally on Sunday to demand immediate action in New York to restrict the sale of both flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, and will keep the pressure on until kids in New York are protected from nicotine addiction by New York law."
There have been a series of recent reports about illnesses and even multiple deaths associated with vaping amid a huge increase in youth e-cigarette use. In New York, the state Department of Health recently issued a warning about e-cigarette use, citing multiple cases of "severe pulmonary disease" among patients "who reported recent use of vape products." Earlier this month, Michigan banned flavored e-cigarettes across the entire state.
Big Tobacco has also aggressively marketed flavored tobacco products to underage users for decades to hook new generations of smokers--particularly in communities of color, where menthol cigarettes are sold to young people, creating disproportionately negative health outcomes for African Americans.
Flavors Hook Kids NYC -- a coalition of more than one hundred health, religious, parent and community organizations -- is an all-out effort to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products in New York City, including e-cigarette flavors and menthol cigarettes, before 2020.
The coalition is pushing for the passage of Intro. 1345 - a restriction of the sale of menthol cigarettes - and Intro. 1362 - a restriction of the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Nearly half of NYC Council members support both bills.
Members of the growing coalition are: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, NAACP, Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), American Cancer Society Action Network (ACS CAN), New York Communities for Change, American Cancer Society Action Network, the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council NAATPN, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Neighbors in Action, Last Call Church, United Concerned Citizens, NYPIRG, Bishop Courtenay of Emmanuel Church of God in Brooklyn, Arthur Ashe Institute Public Health, among others. The list is in formation.
According to the CDC's National Youth Tobacco Survey, during the one-year period between 2017 and 2018 e-cigarette use among high school students increased by 78 percent. Over 3 million high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018. And more than 80 percent of kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.