Mayor Emanuel, Chicago City Council Take Bold Action to Protect Kids from Flavored Tobacco Products
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council have
taken bold action to reduce youth tobacco use by prohibiting the sale of
flavored tobacco products, including menthol-flavored cigarettes, within 500
feet of schools. This ordinance, approved today by the City Council on December 9, will help prevent young people
from becoming addicted to tobacco and starting on a path that all too often
leads to serious disease and premature death.
decades, tobacco companies have used flavorings to reduce the harshness of
their products and make them more appealing to new users, almost all of whom
are under age 18. Flavors increase the number of people, particularly kids, who
try the product, become addicted and die prematurely as a result. According to
a recent study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
more than 40 percent of U.S. youth (grades 6-12) who currently smoke reported
using flavored little cigars or flavored cigarettes. The report
indicated that, despite a 2009 federal ban on candy- and fruit-flavored
cigarettes, tobacco companies continue to lure kids with cheap, sweet-flavored
cigars and menthol cigarettes. These cigars come in kid-friendly flavors
such as peach, strawberry, chocolate and grape.
is also clear evidence that menthol cigarettes increase the number of kids who
smoke. Earlier this year, a 153-page report by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration underscored the serious public health problems posed by menthol
cigarettes. The report reached three key conclusions, finding that menthol
cigarettes lead to 1) increased smoking initiation among youth and young
adults; 2) greater addiction; and 3) decreased success in quitting smoking. In
March 2011, an FDA scientific advisory committee found that menthol cigarettes
have been disproportionately marketed to youth and African Americans.
Prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products
will help reduce tobacco use and its devastating toll.
another important step, Chicago recently launched an ad campaign aimed at
reducing use of menthol-flavored cigarettes by youth. Chicago is the first
major city to run a large-scale ad campaign aimed squarely at curbing the use
of menthol-flavored products.
use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing
more than 400,000 people and costing the nation nearly $100 billion in health
care bills each year. The tobacco industry never lets up in pushing its
deadly and addictive products. Mayor Emanuel and the City Council
recognize that they must be equally aggressive in working to protect our kids
and save lives.