Stop Big Tobacco from targeting Denver kids!

About the Campaign

There’s a public health emergency unfolding right before our eyes — and the cause couldn’t be clearer.

One in four high school students have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. In fact, youth e-cigarette use has skyrocketed to what the Surgeon General and FDA have called “epidemic” levels. From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette use more than doubled among U.S. high school students and more than tripled among middle school students.

This epidemic was driven by Juul, a sleek, high-tech e-cigarette that looks like a USB flash drive – and is small and easy to hide, comes in sweet flavors that entice kids and delivers a powerful nicotine hit. One Juul pod delivers as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.

But Juul isn’t the only problem. There are now over 15,500 e-cigarette flavors and 200 cigar flavors, and more keep coming. These flavored tobacco products undermine Denver’s efforts to reduce youth tobacco use: 81% of kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product. 97% of youth e-cigarette users have used a flavored product in the past month.

While youth cigarette smoking is at an all-time low, cigars are still popular among youth, driven by the availability of kid-friendly flavors like “Banana Smash”, Strawberry Kiwi, and Chocolate Brownie. Nearly three-quarters (73.8%) of youth cigar smokers say they smoke cigars “because they come in flavors I like.”

Tobacco companies also continue to aggressively market menthol-favored cigarettes to kids, African Americans and other demographic groups as they have for decades. Youth smokers are more likely to use menthol cigarettes than any other age group. Menthol cigarettes pose a tremendous public health threat – they make it easier to start and harder to quit smoking.

The popularity of menthol cigarettes among African Americans and youth is a direct result of a decades-long targeted marketing campaign by the tobacco industry. African Americans smoke menthol cigarettes at high rates and quit smoking at lower rates, and African American men have high death rates from lung cancer. That’s why the NAACP and others want to restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes – because they hurt black communities especially.

Four states and over 270 localities have enacted restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products. Denver can protect our kids by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, one of the most promising ways to prevent the industry from addicting our kids.

1 Juul pod contains about the same amount of nicotine as a full pack of 20 cigarettes.

Get the Facts

97%

Of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month.

1 in 4 high school students in the United States use e-cigarettes.

4 out of 5 kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.

Source: 2016-2017 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study

Source: 2013-2014 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study

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