The Sacramento City Council has voted 7-1 to approve an ordinance that bans flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Last year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban flavored tobacco products when voters overwhelmingly upheld the city’s law against a tobacco industry ballot challenge. Other cities, especially in California, have since approved similar measures that ban flavored tobacco product sales.
“The Sacramento City Council delivered a big win for kids over the tobacco industry by voting Tuesday to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes,” Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement. “The Council recognized that harmful and addictive tobacco products should not be sold in candy, fruit and other appealing flavors that entice kids into a lifetime of addiction.”
“Flavored products are a favorite tobacco industry strategy for targeting kids today,” Myers’ statement continued. “Flavored e-cigarettes have fueled a youth epidemic, with e-cigarette use among high school students rising by 78 percent nationwide in 2018. In addition, flavored cigars have proliferated in recent years and become popular with kids, while more than half of youth smokers—including seven out of 10 African-American youth smokers—smoke menthol cigarettes. Prohibiting flavored tobacco products is a critical step to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and continue reducing tobacco use.”
“Sacramento’s prohibition on flavored tobacco products is strongly supported by scientific evidence,” Myers continued. “There is conclusive evidence that flavors play a critical role in youth initiation and continued use of tobacco products. Flavors improve the taste and mask the harshness of tobacco products, making it easier for kids to try the product and ultimately become addicted. The vast majority of youth tobacco users report starting with a flavored product and that they use tobacco products “because they come in flavors I like.”
In 2018, e-cigarette use increased by 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle school students, according to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. More than 3.6 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users in 2018—an increase of 1.5 million in just one year.