Coalition Calls on City Leaders to Restrict the Sale of Flavored Tobacco
Nearly 81 Percent of Young Smokers Start with a Flavored Product
New York, NY April 17, 2019 — The American Heart Association today joins a diverse group of national and local organizations that have joined together to kick off the “Flavors Hook Kids NYC” campaign. The campaign will deliver a loud and clear message to New York City through a new website FlavorsHookKidsNYC.org, and radio and print ads that we must protect all New Yorkers from the dangers of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and candy-flavored electronic cigarettes.
“Flavored tobacco products – including flavored e-cigarettes – are reversing decades of progress in reducing tobacco use among youth and worsening the persistent disparities regarding addiction among communities of color,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Elected officials have a responsibility to counter this mounting threat with effective policies to lower usage rates and keep these flavored products out of the hands of our children. The legislation proposed by Council Members Levine and Cabrera will help to reduce the appeal of tobacco and e-cigarettes among these communities and lower the incidence of tobacco-caused disease and death.”
The campaign is urging the city council to immediately pass legislation (Intro 1345-2019 & Intro 1362-2019) that will restrict the sale of menthol, mint and wintergreen cigarettes and all flavored tobacco products, including the more than 15,000 flavors of e-cigarettes, including kid-friendly varieties like cotton candy, gummy bear and crème brulée. These flavors have contributed to youth use of e-cigarettes becoming an “epidemic” in New York City and across our nation. The name, Flavors Hook Kids NYC, reflects the long-accepted evidence that flavors are one of the most successful ways that the tobacco industry has historically addicted kids to these dangerous products.
“Heart disease is the top killer for all Americans, and the risk is even higher for African-Americans,” stated Icilma V. Fergus, MD, FACC, Past President of the Association of Black Cardiologists. “African-Americans can improve their odds at preventing cardiovascular disease by not smoking. Physicians can’t win this fight alone, however. City Council needs to help us end the predatory practices of the tobacco industry on young people who disproportionately use menthol-flavored products — a gateway to a life-long smoking addiction and heart disease.”