sign up donate

Los Angeles County Votes to Ban Flavored Tobacco Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
September 24, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors delivered a tremendous win for kids over the tobacco industry by voting unanimously today to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products – including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes – in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. This is a critical step to help end the youth e-cigarette epidemic and stop tobacco companies from using appealing flavors to lure kids into a lifetime of addiction.

Today’s action is urgently needed. According to newly-released data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (2019 NYTS), the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gotten even worse in the last year. E-cigarette use among high school students nationwide increased to 27.5% in 2019 compared to 11.7% in 2017 and 20.8% in 2018. Altogether more than 5 million middle and high school students now use e-cigarettes. And the evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes have fueled this epidemic – 97% of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month, and 70% cite flavors as the reason for their use.

Meanwhile, the recent spate of serious lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use being reported across the country underscores the urgency of acting now to protect our kids and, indeed, the health of all Americans.

Flavored products have long been a favorite tobacco industry strategy for targeting kids. In addition to e-cigarettes, flavored cigars have proliferated in recent years and become popular with kids, while more than half of youth smokers – including seven out of ten African-American youth smokers – smoke menthol cigarettes. It’s time to stop tobacco companies from targeting and addicting kids with flavored products once and for all.

The County board voted 5-0 to approve the ordinance. The Los Angeles County vote provides a major boost for the growing national movement to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. We urge the Los Angeles City Council to also ban all flavored tobacco products when they consider the issue in the near future. We thank those who have led and supported the Los Angeles County effort, notably Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.