California's law prohibiting flavored tobacco sales was overwhelmingly approved by legislators in 2020 and upheld by 63% of the state's voters in 2022. Yet after nearly a year of local and state legislation ending the sale of flavored tobacco, it's still being sold in San Diego.
Policymakers at every level must stand up to the tobacco industry by fully enforcing measures to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
The tobacco companies are using flavored products to hook kids — and it's working. Flavored tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes, have addicted a new generation of kids and threaten to reverse the decades-long progress San Diego has made in reducing youth tobacco use. Eight out of ten kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.
Tobacco companies continue to aggressively market menthol-flavored cigarettes to kids, communities of color and LGBTQ+ folks, as they have for decades. Youth smokers are more likely to use menthol cigarettes than any other age group. Menthol cigarettes pose a tremendous public health threat — they make it easier to start and harder to quit.
85% of youth e-cigarette users report using flavored products. There are thousands of e-cigarette flavors and over 200 cigar flavors. Flavors like Cotton Candy, Pink Lemonade, Orange Soda, Cherry Dynamite, Mango Mania, and Cool Mint clearly target our kids.
Flavored products, especially Juul, fueled a youth e-cigarette epidemic over the past decade. Today, over 2.5 million kids nationally use e-cigarettes. In San Diego, 8% of 11th grade students have used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. Kids are not just experimenting, but becoming addicted to these sweet, nicotine-loaded products. Many e-cigarettes can contain as much or more nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.