Noting exponential growth of e-cigarette use by youth, the American Heart Association today commended legislative leaders for making flavored e-cigarettes a priority, but menthol cigarettes must also be included in the effort.
At a morning press conference, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe released their priorities for the session which included restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The American Heart Association is happy to have the support of legislative leaders on an important tobacco prevention priority, but it needs to go a step further.
“While candy flavored e-cigarettes are hooking youth, so are mint and menthol flavored e-cigarettes and combustible menthol cigarettes. Mint and menthol flavoring in all tobacco products makes it easier to start using and harder to quit,” said American Heart Association Government Relations Director, Tina Zuk.
In 2009, flavored combustible cigarettes were banned from sale nationally, with the exception of menthol cigarettes. Since then, menthol cigarettes have grown in popularity, with more than half of all youth and young adult smokers using them, along with 85% of African American smokers.
“We cannot leave menthol cigarettes on the table,” Zuk said. “Restricting the sale of all flavors in all tobacco products is a must if we want to eliminate tobacco use and keep future generations from ever picking up this dangerous addiction.”