Banning Menthol and Flavored Tobacco

A major way to protect youth

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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Preventing a lifetime of addiction

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. Despite recent flavor regulations to curb youth tobacco use, Big Tobacco continues to exploit loopholes to hook our kids – for life.

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.

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

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.

In January 2020, the FDA mandated a series of flavor restrictions aimed at reducing the number of vape and e-cigarette flavors on the market. However, this ruling is full of loopholes that leave many flavors on store shelves. In February 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that effectively bans the sale of all flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes, including menthol. A comprehensive flavor ban would eradicate Big Tobacco’s most deceptive tactic.

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


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