Banning Menthol and Flavored Tobacco

A major way to protect youth

The younger someone starts to smoke or vape, the harder it is to stop. Tobacco companies know this, and they show no shame in their efforts to entice and addict children. How are they doing it? With flavors.

Flavored tobacco, vaping products and menthol cigarettes have grown increasingly popular with kids. Why? Because the less dangerous tobacco seems to teens, the more they use it. Flavorings make it easier to start using tobacco or vape products, but nicotine makes it harder to stop.

Youth ages 12 to 17 who report flavoring is a primary reason for using tobacco product
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Sweet, candy-like flavors are also making it easier for kids to give tobacco and vaping a try… and the nicotine packed inside is forcing them to do it again and again.

While federal law prohibits selling cigarettes with candy and fruit flavors, other tobacco products like little cigars, hookah, smokeless tobacco, vapes and e-cigarettes are fair game. Menthol and other mint tobacco products have been exempted from this ban. Adding these flavors helps mask the harsh tobacco flavor, making it easier to use these deadly products.

Banning menthol cigarettes, flavored tobacco and vaping devices including vape liquids is critical to the future health of Oklahoma’s youth.

Why Act Now?

Today, 4 out of 5 youth smokers will become adult smokers. It’s a number that Big Tobacco counts on to keep turning a profit. Since half of all adult smokers will die from smoking, tobacco companies need a constant stream of new recruits to stay profitable.

4 out of 5 youth smokers will become adult smokers
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Kids and young adults use flavored tobacco products more than other age group. By enacting stronger tobacco control policies that ban these flavored products, we can protect thousands of Oklahoma kids from a lifetime of addiction, disease and premature untimely death.

Signs Of Progress

In May 2018, San Francisco residents overwhelmingly voted to uphold a ban on all flavored tobacco, including menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes. Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, have passed laws restricting sales of menthol flavored tobacco products.

“It was something that we thought we should move forward on to help protect the future health and well-being of the residents or Minneapolis, particularly our youth,” said the council member who co-authored the ordinance.

These bans are sparking momentum for other cities and states to pursue similar legislation.

7 out of 10 Oklahomans believe the tobacco industry targets children and young adults, uses flavors to entice them and lies about the dangers of smoking.

An overwhelming majority of Oklahomans agree that flavorings hook kids. Time to do something about it.

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