Restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products protects kids and creates a healthier future.
Minnesotans agree that kids shouldn’t use tobacco products, and that there is more we can do to prevent kids from becoming addicted.
The tobacco industry uses menthol, candy and fruit-flavored tobacco products to attract the next generation of smokers.1,2 These products mask the harsh taste of tobacco and have packaging that is hard to distinguish from candy or gum. Young people also believe that flavored products are less dangerous or addictive, but they are just as deadly as other tobacco products. An increasing number of young people are using menthol, candy and fruit-flavored products:
- 80 percent of youth tobacco users use flavored products.
- Menthol cigarette use by Minnesota high school smokers increased from 20 percent to 44 percent from 2000 to 2014.3
- More than 35 percent of Minnesota students have tried flavored cigars.4
- Nearly 17 percent of Minnesota 11th graders have used e-cigarettes, which come in kid-friendly flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy.5
All tobacco products contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical that can lead to addiction and disruption of attention and learning.6 Once kids start using one tobacco product, they are more likely to experiment with others. This can lead to a lifetime of tobacco addiction and disease. In fact, almost 95 percent of addicted adult smokers start before age 21.7
The tobacco industry knows the power of these products, and uses them to target young people, African Americans and LGBTQ communities., According to internal tobacco industry documents, executives have said that “the base of [their] business is the high school student.”10
Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation supports restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products, to protect kids from a lifetime of tobacco addiction and disease.
For more information, view our fact sheet.
1 Ambrose BK, et al., Flavored Tobacco Product Use Among US Youth Aged 12-17 Years, 2013-2014. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2015; 314(17): 1871-1873.
2 Gemma JL (RJR Tobacco). Memorandum from JL Gemma, Marketing Development Department to Marketing Development Department Committee at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. Aug 16. 1985; http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xgm15d00/pdf.
3 Racialized Geography, Corporate Activity, and Health Disparities: Tobacco Industry Targeting of Inner Cities, Valerie B. Yerger, Jennifer Przewoznik, Ruth E. Malone
4 Minnesota Department of Health, 2011 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey. 2011.
5 Minnesota Student Survey Interagency Team. Minnesota Student Survey, 2016. Roseville, MN: Minnesota Department of Education.
6 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
7 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality; September 2014 https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs2014/NSDUH-DetTabs2014.pdf.
8 Racialized Geography, Corporate Activity, and Health Disparities: Tobacco Industry Targeting of Inner Cities, Valerie B. Yerger, Jennifer Przewoznik, Ruth E. Malone
9 Washington HA. Burning love: Big Tobacco takes aim at LGBT youths. Am J Public Health. 2002.
10 Lorillard, Memo from executive TL Achey to former Lorillard President Curtis Judge re Newport brand, August 30, 1978, https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=xtbl0135