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PHI Statement on California Proposed Flavored Tobacco Ban

November 29, 2018

STATEMENT FROM LYNN SILVER, MD, MPH, SENIOR ADVISOR, CHRONIC DISEASE AND OBESITY PREVENTION, PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTE

 

The Public Health Institute strongly supports the ground-breaking proposal to ban flavored tobacco products, including menthol and vaping products, announced this week by California state legislators Sens. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, Anthony J. Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, Connie Leyva, D-Chino and Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, as well as Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. The proposed legislation would build on an increasing wave of successful local measures in our state. 

          

Research has shown that flavored products entice youth into tobacco use. Menthol products have also been used to target communities of color, the African American community in particular, and contribute to persistent  racial inequities in smoking rates. The widespread use of flavors in the explosively growing e-cigarette market is contributing to rising rates of nicotine addiction in youth and undermining hard-won progress in tobacco control. Tobacco use continues to be one of the top causes of preventable death and disease in California and kills a half million Americans every year.

 

PHI would urge that the legislature further strengthen the proposal by including the prohibition of flavored cannabis products for smoking and vaping. The emerging cannabis industry been copying directly from the tobacco industry's playbook in its efforts to market to youth, by launching products like strawberry banana pre-rolls and flavored vaping fluids. As we move forward to end the tobacco industry's predatory marketing to youth and communities of color, we need to make sure we stop similar predatory practices in the new legal cannabis industry as well.