More action needed to address serious public health threat of menthol tobacco
The American Heart Association, the world’s leading health organization focused on heart and brain health for all, maintains that flavored tobacco products are reversing decades of progress in reducing tobacco use among youth and worsening the persistent disparities regarding addiction among communities of color. For that reason, we applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for quickly moving to sign Intro 1362, a bill designed to restrict the sale of all flavored electronic cigarette products, including the more than 15,000 flavors of e-cigarettes, into law.
“Many young people say that they’ve tried e-cigarettes in part because of the appealing flavors. By restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarette products, this city is taking a stand against tobacco companies that have been hooking a new generation on nicotine and smoking,” said Robin Vitale, Vice President, Health, American Heart Association. “However, we also stand with all our fellow public health and social justice advocates who call upon the City Council to approve Intro 1345, which addresses the sale of combustible menthol, mint and wintergreen cigarettes. If we truly want to promote heart-healthy behaviors for all New Yorkers, we must restrict these dangerous products from the market. It is never too late to do the right thing and alleviate a serious public health threat.”
The American Heart Association in New York City will continue to advocate in support of Intro 1345. The fact that menthol tobacco is being left behind is alarmingly short-sighted and will allow the tobacco industry to further sentence thousands of New Yorkers to death by tobacco-related illnesses. The City Council – the majority of whom are sponsors of the legislation – must ask Speaker Corey Johnson to quickly rectify this misstep.