Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call for statewide legislation to end the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes in New York. Passage of such legislation would be a tremendous victory for New York's kids and protect them from nicotine addiction and other health risks associated with e-cigarette use.
There is no time to waste as the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gone from bad to worse – and Gov. Cuomo's call to prohibit flavored e-cigarettes is exactly what we need. Driven by skyrocketing youth use of e-cigarettes, the percentage of high school students who use tobacco products is at its highest level in 19 years. This year, 31.2% of high school students and 12.5% of middle school students – 6.2 million kids altogether – used some type of tobacco product, according to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The number of kids who use e-cigarettes has skyrocketed to over 5.3 million, including more than one in four (27.5%) high school students, and recent trends indicate that nearly 5,000 more kids start using e-cigarettes each day.
The evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes have fueled this epidemic – 97% of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month, and 70% cite flavors as the reason for their use. The time for waiting is over. Policymakers across the nation must act now to stop Juul and other e-cigarette companies from targeting our nation's kids with flavored, nicotine-loaded products that are addicting a new generation and threaten decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use.
Gov. Cuomo plans to unveil the legislation on Jan. 8 as part of his 2020 state of the state address. The legislation would put into law the emergency regulations he announced in September but which have been held up in court. We look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo to pass this legislation and end the youth e-cigarette epidemic.
The legislature should move quickly to enact this important proposal and expand it to include all flavored tobacco products, including flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes. Over half of all youth smokers use menthol cigarettes, and youth in communities of color use these products at even more alarming rates. These products have plagued these communities for decades.
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids