Los Angeles Makes History as the Largest City in the Nation to End the Sale of Candy-Flavored Tobacco, Including Minty-Menthol Cigarettes
Ordinance Ends Decades of Big Tobacco’s Practice of Hooking Kids and Black Neighborhoods on Highly Addictive Nicotine Products for Profit
LOS ANGELES, CA (June 01, 2022) – The Los Angeles City Council overwhelmingly passed a historic ordinance on Wednesday, finally ending the sale of the candy-flavored nicotine – from e-cigarettes to menthol cigarettes – across the city. In doing so, Los Angeles is now the most populous city in the nation to protect kids by taking Big Tobacco’s flavored nicotine products, including menthol cigarettes, off store shelves. The motion passed with 12 yes votes and 0 no votes.
“The Los Angeles City Council’s vote to end the sale of flavored tobacco products will save lives and promote health equity, and it will stop Big Tobacco’s deadly tactic of using candy-flavors, including menthol, to addict kids, Black Americans and other targeted groups,” said Lindsey Freitas, Regional Advocacy Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “California and the nation should take today’s historic progress as a clear call to stand on the right side of history and protect kids from becoming the next generation of Big Tobacco’s customers.”
“As City leaders, we have a sacred duty to protect our youth from the deadly Big Tobacco agenda,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “Today, we answered that call by making sure tobacco companies can no longer use candy-flavors like peach gummy or minty-menthol to lure our kids into trying nicotine, a highly addictive substance that harms brain development and leads to a lifetime of health issues and a shorter lifespan.”
“After decades of preying on Black neighborhoods, spending millions of dollars to hook our kids on menthol cigarettes, judgment day has finally come for Big Tobacco in Los Angeles,” said Carol McGrder, Co-Chair, African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. “No longer will tobacco companies be able to use candy-flavors to hook the next generation on nicotine. No longer will they be able to rake in massive profits at the expense of our children’s health. We must remain vigilant in the fight to protect Black lives from Big Tobacco’s grip; but today’s vote to take menthol cigarettes and candy-flavored e-cigarettes off store shelves will save precious lives from addiction, disease, and death.”
Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson added, “Ending the sale of candy-flavored nicotine across the city means tobacco companies can not mask the harshness of cigarette smoke to make it more appealing to children and teens, and they can’t use menthol to target the African-American community. I am proud to stand with a coalition of parents, students, and public health leaders in passing an ordinance that protects Angelenos from predatory tobacco companies.”
“The tobacco industry has strategically and aggressively targeted our communities with flavored tobacco products for decades. Today’s vote sends a strong message that big tobacco’s endless resources and powerful lobbying could not overwhelm the commitment of parents, public health leaders, and city officials to protect our kids and communities from a lifetime addiction to nicotine,” said Eric Batch, Vice President, Advocacy American Heart Association.
“The American Lung Association applauds the Los Angeles City Council for passing a critical ordinance that will end the sale of flavored tobacco products across the city,” said Erica Costa, Advocacy Director, American Lung Association in California. “Four out of five youth who have used tobacco started with a flavored product, because Big Tobacco uses candy flavors to mask the harsh taste of tobacco – making it easier to start using nicotine, and harder to quit. This ordinance is necessary to protect kids from predatory tobacco companies.”
“Cigarette smoking causes more than 80% of lung cancer deaths,” said Primo J. Castro, Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “The City of L.A.’s ordinance will stop tobacco companies from targeting youth with fruity, mint, menthol and other candy flavors to addict them to nicotine, and it ends Big Tobacco’s discriminatory and deadly practice of deliberately targeting Black neighborhoods with marketing for menthol cigarettes. We are grateful to the City Council for taking historic action to protect the next generation.”
“The City Council’s action to end the sale of candy-flavored tobacco in Los Angeles comes at a pivotal moment,” said Meredith Berkman, Co-Founder, Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes. “Big Tobacco is using flavors to hook young people on nicotine at an unprecedented rate, with over 2 million kids across the country using e-cigarettes today. We are proud to have fought alongside city leaders to pass an ordinance that will save lives and protect our kids from ever getting addicted in the first place.”