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Key to Ending Youth E-cigarette Epidemic: End Sales of Flavored Tobacco Products

On 10-year anniversary of removal of most flavored cigarettes from the marketplace, American Lung Association calls on White House to stand firm against industry efforts to sabotage bold action

(September 19, 2019) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]
312-801-7628

This week marks the ten-year anniversary of the removal of all flavored cigarettes except menthol from the marketplace and a week since President Trump announced he would “clear the market” of all flavored e-cigarettes. It is clear that Juul and other e-cigarettes companies are lobbying hard against the President’s announcement. We urge him to hold firm in protecting the public and kids by immediately removing flavored e-cigarettes from the marketplace.  

Following the removal of almost all flavored cigarettes from the marketplace, smoking rates among kids dropped to historically low smoking levels. However, other flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, cigars and hookah are attracting and addicting another generation. To address our nation’s youth e-cigarette epidemic, bold actions like the one President Trump called for are needed. Today the American Lung Association calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes, cigars and menthol cigarettes.

“The flavors in tobacco products attract kids and set them on a path to a lifetime of addiction and at risk for severe and irreversible lung damage,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “Last week’s announcement by President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Azar is exactly the type of bold step needed to end the tobacco epidemic. We call on the Administration to meaningfully address the epidemic by taking swift action to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.”

According to a 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the primary reasons teens use e-cigarettes is because candy and fruit flavors are appealing to them. 

"Recognizing that flavored tobacco can hook our kids and harm their health, the American Lung Association calls on states and cities to act to prohibit all flavored tobacco products in their jurisdictions,” added Wimmer. “It is critical that those actions include prohibitions against all flavors, including mint and menthol.” 

Fruit and mint and menthol are the most popular flavors among high school students using e-cigarettes, with 65.9% of kids using fruit-flavored e-cigarettes and 63.9% using mint or menthol e-cigarette flavors.  

In addition, use of menthol cigarettes by youth also makes it more likely that youth will go on to become regular smokers. Menthol cools and numbs the throat, reducing the harshness of cigarette smoke, thereby making menthol cigarettes more appealing to youth who are initiating tobacco use. While overall cigarette sales have been declining, the proportion of smokers using menthol cigarettes has been increasing. 

Learn more about e-cigarettes and lung health at Lung.org/ecigs. For media interested in speaking with a medical or policy expert about lung health, tobacco use or the youth e-cigarette epidemic, contact Allison MacMunn the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628. 

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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