Christopher Columbus and Tobacco

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

Remember reciting this poem in honor of Christopher Columbus, the man who sailed from Spain with his three ships hoping to find a western sea route to China and the Asian spice route?  Years ago, the day was a celebration of the man who discovered the Americas, but many of the facts about him were hidden.  Over the years as the details have come out about Columbus’ treatment and enslavement of the natives on the islands he visited, the day is less about the man and more about the celebration of the indigenous people that make up the Americas.  One little known fact that hasn’t changed is that Columbus and his crew are credited with introducing tobacco to Europe.

When Columbus took off for his journey in 1492 he encountered islands in what is known today as the Bahamas.  The Natives greeted Columbus and his men with gifts of friendship, “fruit, food, and spears.” Among the gifts were some dried leaves from the tobacco plant.  Since they were inedible, the leaves were thrown overboard.  This tabacos, as it was called by the indigenous people, was considered a gift from the Creator,” and was used for medicinal purposes and for bartering.

It wasn’t until Columbus and his men set sail again, this time docking off the coast of Cuba, that they witnessed the local people actually smoking the leaves.  One article said a scout from the ship went to the interior to Cuba and observed men with herbs rolled into a dry leaf which was lighted and inhaled.  He describes the men as “almost drunk.”  Another article mentions a party from Columbus’ ship “witnessed local people there smoking tobacco through Y-shaped tubes which they inserted in their noses, inhaling smoke until they lost consciousness.” This time when tobacco leaves were presented to Columbus as a sign of friendship they realized they were a prized possession and accepted them.

While much is said about Columbus’ journeys and his treatment of natives, not every article mentions the discovery of tobacco or that one of his crewmen, Rodrigo de Jerez, is credited with being the first European smoker as he introduced the habit to his hometown.  Columbus had it right the first time by throwing the leaves overboard, but it would be just a matter of time as other discoverers followed in his wake and also brought back tobacco plants from the New World.

In the 526 years since Columbus and his men were presented tobacco, the number of smokers has grown to over 1.1 billion and more than 7 million die each year from the habit.  Here in the U.S. the number who die is more than 480,000.  Tobacco kills up to half of its users and is the leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment.  It’s time we do more to make tobacco history again.

Image of Columbus is from Encyclopaedia Britannica



Posted in Tobacco | Tagged , | Leave a comment

U.S. ranks last in size of cigarette warnings

In 1966 the U.S. was the first country in the world to put health warnings on the cigarette pack.  Now as 118 countries require graphic (picture) warnings and 107 require the warnings to cover a minimum of 50 percent of the front and back of the pack, the U.S. is still stuck in a time warp with small, text-only messages on the side of the pack that haven’t been updated since 1984, and are almost unseen by users.  But it isn’t like the U.S. hasn’t tried to move forward.

In 2009, when the Family Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law, one of the key features was new graphic, color warning labels that were to be placed on cigarette packs covering 50 percent of the front and back of the pack by 2012.  The Act was barely passed when a tobacco company filed suit stating restricting what was on the pack amounted to infringement of their First Amendment and forced the tobacco industry to “engage in anti-smoking advocacy” that benefited the government.  The suit worked it way through the court system until the Supreme Court declined to hear a tobacco industry appeal and upheld the law.  That’s where it stopped and nothing more was done until 2016 when a lawsuit was filed by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, public health and medical groups, and individual pediatricians stating “the FDA had both ‘unlawfully withheld’ and ‘unreasonably delayed’ agency action to require the graphic warnings.”  In other words, the FDA is “still legally obligated to require graphic health warnings.”  They just need to use different images than those that were “struck down” by the D.C. Circuit. In September of this year a federal court ordered the FDA to move forward with graphic warnings.

Other countries are so much further ahead than the U.S. in providing health warnings on tobacco.  In 1989 Canada rolled out their first set of four warnings printed on the front and back of all tobacco products sold legally.  By 1994 the warnings had to cover 25% of the top of the package and included 8 messages.  Six years later new regulations required the 16 new warnings had to cover 50% of the front and back of the surface and included a picture illustrating the warning.  Health Canada is now looking into mandating plain packaging. In 2012 Australia became the first country to require plain packaging and graphic warning labels and their success at lowering their smoking rates has prompted other countries to move forward with their own plans.  According to studies the warnings “have been found to inform smokers about the health hazards of smoking, encourage smokers to quit, and prevent nonsmokers from starting to smoke,” especially youth.  Today 9 countries and territories have adopted plain packaging and 16 others are working on it.

With 480,000 people dying every year in the U.S. from tobacco-related health issues, it is time for the U.S. to do what is right by the American people and put public health first.

Click HERE for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Press Release


Posted in Cigarettes, International, Legal | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Federal Court to FDA: It’s Time for Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

Back in 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law giving the “FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.”  One of the features of the Act was to include graphic warning labels on cigarette packs and on cigarette advertising.  Big Tobacco challenged the warning labels as violating their First Amendment grounds, and at that time the Court sided with the tobacco industry.  A Court of Appeals found the law didn’t violate the First Amendment and the labels “are reasonably related to the government’s interest in preventing consumer deception and are therefore constitutional.”  Although the original labels were struck down by a court in 2o12, the FDA is still legally obligated to require the warnings.  The FDA hasn’t acted, until forced to do so by this lawsuit.

A lawsuit was filed in October 2016 by various health groups against the FDA for not moving forward with the warning labels and U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani agreed.  According to the judge, “the FDA has both “unlawfully withheld” and “unreasonably delayed” agency action to require the graphic warnings.”  The FDA has until September 26, 2018 to provide a schedule of action for the warning labels, “in accordance with the Tobacco Control Act.”

Tobacco use is the #1 cause of preventable death around the world and at least 105 countries already require graphic warnings on their cigarette packs.     Australia, the first country in the world to move from small graphic warning labels to plain packaging and larger pictures, has seen good success with lowering both youth and adult smoking since the labels were required.  All cigarette packs must be uniform in color, fonts and branding, and all must include graphic pictures of what smoking does to the body.  And they aren’t the only country in requiring graphic pictures.  Uruguay, Nepal and Sri Lanka, all developing countries, are farther ahead in protecting the health of their citizens.

In 1966, the United States became the first nation in the world to require warning labels on cigarette packs, but the warnings printed on the side of the pack haven’t been updated in decades and largely go unnoticed.  When the FDA first proposed graphic labels, the pictures were almost unrealistic and were rejected for not being graphic enough. Now that other countries have had success with their warning labels, perhaps the use of strong pictures will “gain and hold the attention of smokers.”

Pictures of real health issues caused by smoking need to be seen to get the message across that smoking is harmful to the health of everyone.  Implementing graphic warning labels would decrease youth and adult smoking rates even further in the U.S. and would protect our future generations from starting this deadly addiction.

Click HERE for Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids press release and warning labels.   Countries Requiring Pictorial Warnings, Australia 2006 vs 2012 and warning pictures from other countries are from  The image of the Surgeon General warning on the side of a US cigarette pack is from Wikipedia.  The images that were to be used on US cigarette packs is from










Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blowing vapor out of both sides of their mouth

Can you really believe anything the tobacco or vaping industry says about wanting to protect kids from using their products?  This morning a tweet from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids appeared regarding Juul, the vaping device popular among kids.  The tweet probably wouldn’t have raised eyebrows if Juul hadn’t committed to supporting Tobacco 21.

In the past the tobacco industry said they marketed to adults, but throughout the years internal tobacco documents were released showing a cover up and strategic plans to market to youth.  Now the vaping industry is doing the same and our kids are once again buying into a nicotine addicted lifestyle without knowing the risks.

E-cigarettes have been on the market for several years, but it wasn’t until a sleek digital device with the look of a USB drive that can be charged using your computer came onto the market that youth use exploded.  The device is call Juul, and is part of the lexicon of  kids everywhere.  In the past year alone Juul’s sales have surged almost 800%, and “in a four-week period captured more than half of the $2 billion e-cigarette market.”  By the end of May 2018 the Juul market share was at 64%: by August 11, 2018, it was at 72.2%.   The devices can be found on almost every high school and middle school campus, and kids know who has one and how to get one.   The industry is saying it is “safer” and “less harmful” than cigarettes, but don’t reveal the chemicals in the flavorings, the nicotine in the devices or the risk to a user’s health.

Juul said “it wants to help stop teens from using its products, but only after receiving a warning letter from the FDA.   Juul wasn’t the only brand targeted; a total of 17 brands received letters from the FDA for allowing their products to be sold through the internet and through other means without proper verification of age.  Two days after the warning letter, it was reported Juul Labs planned on investing $30 million over the next three years to “fund independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement efforts.” Sounds like a page from the tobacco industry which also funded “tobacco prevention education.”  It should be noted that “JUUL labs began restricting sales of its products to those 21 and over through its own web site as long ago as August 2017, at least according to an article on

Juul Labs CEO also went so far as to say “we are committed to deterring young people, as well as adults who do not currently smoke, from using our products.  We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try (Juul).”  But what he said, and the actions of the company aren’t on the same page.  Months ago they reaffirmed their commitment to Tobacco 21 policy, now they have joined the Vapor Technology Association as a Platinum Member and are celebrating the defeat of T21 in Illinois as a “Vapor Victory.”  It didn’t take them long to change their tune.

We understand adult smokers have options regarding using other forms of nicotine products.  But this is about the kids, the ones who are non-nicotine users the JUUL CEO said should not ever try JUUL.  Can we truly believe anything this company or any vaping company says in the future?  Sounds like they are blowing vapor out of both sides of their mouth.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and vaping is an important part of the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course and we are committed to teaching our participants about the dangers of all tobacco and nicotine products.  Florida administrators, school counselors and educators can take a 30- or 60-point course and teacher six (6) tobacco prevention lessons for credits to renew their FLDOE certificate.  Each course has a chapter dedicated to e-cigarettes and vaping risks.  Palm Beach secondary educators have an option of taking a 10-point E-cigarette/Vaping course.  Florida School Nurses can now take a tobacco/vaping course for 20 CEUs.  You can find more information about our courses at:


Posted in E-Cigarettes, vaping | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selling vaping liquids in kid-friendly packaging has ended

Remember those electronic cigarette nicotine e-liquids sold in kid-friendly containers that resembled food products such as apple juice boxes?  “All 17 manufacturers, distributors and retailers have stopped selling” them in the friendly packaging.  Of course, receiving warning letters in May from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) labeling the products “false or misleading” certainly helped.  These manufacturers would not have done this on their own.

While the FDA says they “encourage the innovation of novel and potentially less harmful products such as e-cigarettes for currently addicted adult smokers,” they have a responsibility to “ensure these products aren’t being marketed to, sold to, or used by kids.”  Removing these products from the market will protect our kids “from the dangers of nicotine and tobacco products.  This won’t be the last word from the FDA as they will continue to take action against manufacturers who produce products that appeal to kids and manufacturers that allow these products into the hands of children.

In late 2017, the FDA began investigating tobacco product labeling and advertising that imitated food products and were marketed to appeal to kids.  These were “considered misbranded and sold in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because their labeling and/or advertising imitating kid-friendly foods was misleading.”  The FTC joined the FDA in 13 of the 17 warning letters “which prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising.”

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as e-cigarettes, are more than just flavored liquid in an easy-to-inhale aerosol.  Most liquids contain nicotine which “can harm brain development in ways that may affect the health and mental health of our kids,” according to the Report of the Surgeon General on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Youth Adults.  Yet most kids were unaware that nicotine was present.  More than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products in 2016 and flavors have contributed to their popularity.

The FDA is looking into ways “to make tobacco products less toxic, appealing and addictive, with an intense focus on youth.”  Current measures include child-resistant packaging and labeling to prevent accidental poisonings, and “flavors/designs that appeal to youth.”  In March the FDA issued an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking” regarding the role tobacco product flavors play in attracting youth.  They are also looking at “additional restrictions on the sale and promotion of ENDS to further reduce youth exposure and access to these products.”

As for the practice of packaging e-liquids in kid-friendly packaging, the manufacturers were aware that the packaging would appeal to kids and ended the practice, but not before  they were warned.

Taking a page from Big Tobacco, the vaping industry marketed the products to appeal to youth and ended the practice once they were caught.  Meanwhile, millions of kids believe these products are “safer” and “less harmful” than cigarettes, not understanding they are highly addictive.  Perhaps it is time the vaping industry is forced to compare the safety of their product to not vaping, versus comparing it to cigarettes.  When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem safe or harmless after all.

Click HERE for the entire FDA press release.


Posted in Big Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, vaping | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Teens work to ban flavored tobacco products

Kudos to the kids!

It took a year, but a group of high school students in Lawrence, Massachusetts worked to ban flavored tobacco products from stores that are frequented by kids.  The Board of Health voted 3-0 to limit the sales to 21 and over establishments, and went further to prohibit smoking at tobacco stores as well as restrict smoking in outdoor construction sites.

Massachusetts’ anti-smoking non-profit supported the students with a $2,000 grant which allowed them to survey 121 licensed bodegas and markets in their city and compile the data.  Flavored tobacco is often sold in bright packaging that looks like candy, which one person described as “a clear marketing strategy by the tobacco companies to market to our youth.”  They emphasized they aren’t making the sale of flavored tobacco illegal, they just want it confined to adult-only tobacco stores.

The state of Massachusetts just recently raised the minimum tobacco age to 21 which will go into effect December 31 of this year.  As far back as 2005, Massachusetts communities were raising their smoking age to 21.  Before the bill raised it statewide, 170 cities and towns, accounting for almost 70% of the state population, had already made it law.  While the law will protect those not yet 18 by the end of the year, those who turn 18 before the law goes into effect will be allowed to continue to purchase tobacco.  The law also includes e-cigarettes and prohibits their use and sale in certain places.  Pharmacies will no longer be able to sell tobacco products.

While other communities and states throughout the U.S. are passing Tobacco 21 laws, it doesn’t appear to be moving forward in Florida.   A commentary in the Orlando Sentinel on January 23 of this year urged lawmakers to raise the tobacco age, citing statistics such as “95% of smokers begin their addiction before the age of 21,” and “one in every three young smokers will die of a smoking-related illness or disease.   Three lawmakers are lead sponsors on a bill that would raise “the minimum legal age for tobacco and electronic smoking devices to 21.”  But it appears Big Tobacco is controlling the future health of our kids thanks in part to the “67 lobbyists who are stopping Florida from taking similar action” of raising the state’s tobacco age.

Click HERE for the entire story.

Posted in Legal, Tobacco, Tobacco market | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Welcome Back to School 2018-2019

The Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators on-line course would like to welcome Florida educators and students to the 2018-2019 school year.  Educators, as you think about your plans for the coming school year, whether you teach the arts, mathematics, the sciences, or any other subject area, think about the material you present in your class.  Teaching lessons on tobacco prevention will have a lasting impact on the future of your students, their families, and possibly even yourself.

This is the ninth year for the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course to provide professional development opportunities for all Florida Department of Education K-12 certified teachers, school counselors and administrators in public, private, charter, and virtual schools.  As in previous years we will be offering a 30- or a 60-point course for credit towards certificate renewal.  These two courses now have a chapter devoted entirely to e-cigarettes and vaping.  This year we are also excited to offer two new courses: a new 20-point CEU course for Florida School Nurses and a 10-point course for Palm Beach County educators on ENDS (electronic nicotine devices).  The 30- and 60-point courses, and the nurse’s course also contain all the new information on vaping and e-cigarettes found in our 10-point ENDS course.  Palm Beach County educators who have not yet taken one of our tobacco prevention courses in their current certificate renewal period will be eligible to take our new 10-point ENDS course with lessons to teach to their students.

Last year over 450 participants from 43 districts registered to take the tobacco prevention course. Although 82% of the participants were from public schools, charter and private school educators also participated.  The top six subject areas included: Elementary-Mixed, Physical Education, Science, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, and Mathematics; however, teachers in any subject area can take our course.  Slightly more than 37% of our completers had their certificate up for renewal in 2018; however, it is never too early to work towards earning professional development credits for the next renewal period.

In 2018, 143 participants received certificates of completion after teaching six (6) tobacco prevention lessons to their students, and over 13,500 students received tobacco and e-cigarette prevention instruction.  Can you imagine the number of students who would benefit from tobacco and vaping prevention lessons if more teachers took one of our courses?

Every year participants state how they are amazed at the ways our youth are targeted by the tobacco industry; before it was through smoking, now youth are targets of the vaping industry.  According to the 2017 Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Florida report, 4.2% of Florida high school students smoke versus a national average of 7.6%, but 15.7% of Florida high school students report using electronic cigarettes.  The Florida Youth Tobacco Survey reports between 2012 and 2017 while cigarette use decreased by 59%, e-cigarette use increased 333.8%.  The vaping industry has lead our students to believe vaping is safe, but most e-devices and e-liquids contain nicotine which is highly addictive to the adolescent brain and can “disrupt the formation of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction.”  Although smoking has decreased, if trends continue as they are today, it is estimated that 270,000 kids now under 18 and alive in Florida will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.  We can do more to educate our students about the dangers of tobacco and nicotine use and protect their future health.

Our tobacco prevention online course teaches our educators facts about tobacco products and how to help their students make better informed life choices before they are targeted by the tobacco industry or face peer pressure.   The school year has barely started and already we have almost 20 participants from seven school districts registered.  We are off to a great start.  You can register for one of the courses by clicking on the link below:

Click on the highlighted link:  Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National Youth Tobacco Survey 2011-2017

The latest National Youth Tobacco Survey 2011-2017 has been published regarding current (past 30-day) use of tobacco use among middle (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12).  Current use was defined as use on 1 or more days during the past 30 days.  Combustible tobacco products were defined as cigarettes, cigars, hookah, pipe tobacco, and/or bidis (small imported cigarettes wrapped in a leaf).

Among high school students, 19.6% reported current use of any tobacco product which included 9.2% who currently used 2 or more tobacco products.  It was not surprising that in 2017 electronic cigarettes (11.7%) were the most common form of tobacco product among high school students, followed by cigars (7.7%), cigarettes (7.6%), smokeless tobacco (5.5%), hookah (3.3%), pipe tobacco (0.8%), and bidis (0.7%).  More males than females used smokeless tobacco.  Non-Hispanic white (white) (14.2%) and Hispanic (10.1%) high school students were more likely to use e-cigarettes while cigars were most commonly used tobacco product among non-Hispanic black (black) high school students (7.8%).  During 2016-2017, decreases in current use of hookah and pipe tobacco were seen among high school students.

Among middle school students, 5.6% used any tobacco product, including 2.4% who used 2 or more tobacco products.  As with high school students, e-cigarettes were most popular (3.3%), followed by cigarettes (2.1%), smokeless tobacco (1.9%), cigars (1.5%), hookah (1.4%), pipe tobacco (0.4%), and bidis (0.3%). Males (6.4%) were more likely than females (4.8%) to use any tobacco product.  E-cigs were the most commonly used product among Hispanic (4.0%), white (3.4%), and black (2.2%) middle school students.

While decreases were seen in the current use of any tobacco product during 2011-2017 among both middle and high school students, one in five high school students (2.95 million) and one in 18 (0.67 million) middle school students currently uses a tobacco product.  Of those, one in two high school students and two and five middle school students reported using 2 or more tobacco products.  Nicotine dependence increased in multiple tobacco product users compared with those in single product users.

Several factors could have contributed to the decrease in tobacco use including tobacco prevention and control strategies, price increases, smoke-free policies, and media education about the dangers of tobacco use.  But youth are still exposed to product advertising through media and the availability of flavored tobacco products.  The FDA is currently obtaining “information related to the role that flavors play in tobacco product use.”

While it is good to see decreases in use among youth, we still have a long way to go to reach all students about the current and future dangers of tobacco and nicotine use.  The Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators is currently updating information in our 30- and 60 point courses including a new chapter specifically on electronic cigarettes and vaping.

Click HERE for the full NYTS text.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Addiction Scholarships

Were you just as outraged as we were to see the vaping industry resort to using food product logos and packaging to promote their products to kids?  Now e-cigarette and vaporizer sellers are getting their brands listed on university websites by, get this, offering college scholarships!  And it’s not to just to some obscure colleges, ivy league schools were also included, such as Harvard.

For a chance to earn a $250 to $5,000 scholarship, all the applicant has to do is write about the dangers of smoking and why vaping is the better alternative.  One company wants the applicant to go so far as to recommend different e-cigarettes.  According to one owner of a vaping review site that is offering a scholarship, “many in the industry are former smokers and want to help teens avoid tobacco.”  He even goes as far as admitting it is a marketing tool, but does it go farther than that, and become a thinly veiled disguise to get kids hooked on a different type of nicotine product and to do research marketing for the vaping industry?

The head of the American Vaping Association defends the practice saying it is no different than a major beer manufacturer that provides scholarships for minority students, including to the American Indian College Fund.  A quick search also found Burger King, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Panera among food and beverage companies offering scholarships, but wouldn’t you be outraged to hear a major tobacco company giving money to students, especially if the hopeful recipients had to write in favor of tobacco, a highly addictive product?  And perhaps we should be outraged that a beer manufacturer is providing money for scholarships, especially when the Native American populations have a higher rate of alcoholism.

According to a director for the American Cancer Society lobbying arm in Washington, “this is all about marketing.”  And offering scholarships is one way for a vaping company to get “their link on a university financial-aid page or website.”  It would also seem the university is supporting vaping.  “Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pittsburgh and others” ended up with vaping scholarships on their financial-aid directories until the Associated Press (AP) asked about them.  A spokesman at one of the universities said “we’re not interested in being a platform for tobacco or vaping.” The sites have since been removed at the colleges that were contacted, but how many others don’t even know about the scholarships?

The vaping industry says their products are meant for adults trying to quit smoking, but just recently the FDA came down on the vaping industry for promoting flavors meant to attract youth and for allowing vaping devices to to sold to underage purchasers through online sales.  For the record Florida law requires e-cigarette purchasers to be 18 years old while other states and/or communities have raised the tobacco age to 21 and include e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco.

There is no legitimate reason for these scholarships other than the industry’s financial gain in future users.

Click HERE for the entire article from





Posted in Big Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, vaping | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Voters Defeat Big Tobacco in San Francisco

Congratulations to San Francisco voters for seeing through R.J. Reynolds deceptive and self-serving campaign, and voting in a “historic victory for kids and health” by banning the sale of flavored tobacco products on the June 6 ballot.

In June 2017 San Francisco’s board of supervisors approved an ordinance banning flavors, including menthol, in tobacco products which was set to take effect April 2018.  The ban prohibited sales of the products within city limits, but not their use.  Nearly 34,000 signatures were gathered in a petition drive, paid for by R.J. Reynolds, to place Prop E on the June 2018 ballot.  Reynolds then spent nearly $12 million to defeat the referendum, but on June 6 voters went to the polls and voted to uphold the ban with a 68 percent to 32 percent margin.

Flavored products are considered “starter” products by the tobacco industry and are heavily marketed to attract kids. The flavors improve the taste and make smoking less harsh on the throat, which make them easier to use.   The tobacco industry continues to market their menthol cigarette brands to kids, African Americans, and other groups.  Newport cigarettes are the best-selling menthol brand, “and the second most popular cigarette brand among youth smokers.”  Over half of youth smokers (54 percent) ages 12-17 use menthol cigarettes versus only one-third of adult smokers 35 and older.  And African-American youth menthol rate is even higher at 70 percent.

As smoking rates have fallen, the tobacco industry has turned to more candy-flavored tobacco products such as little flavored cigars which “make up more than half of the U.S. cigar market.”  The cheap prices and the bright packaging helps to grab youth attention.  Youth who decided they didn’t want to smoke are  turning to vaping, with over 15,000 kid-friendly, electronic cigarette flavors being marketed in colorful packaging that looks like candy and food products.

Tobacco flavors play an important role in initiation and continued use among youth.  According to Truth Initiative, “nearly 81 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 who had ever used a tobacco product reported that the first product they used was flavored,” and 80 percent of current youth users report they have used a flavored product in the past month.

Banning flavors will “stop the tobacco industry from targeting kids, African Americans and other populations with menthol- and candy-flavored products” and will hopefully decrease the number of current users.  While the will of the people have spoken, this probably is not the last we will hear from the tobacco industry on this matter.

Click here for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids article.
Little cigar photo from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  E-cigarette flavor from FDA.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment