Heads up New York, menthol cigarettes may soon be extinguished and quick. Legislation introduced last week would officially ban the sale and distribution of flavor tobacco products, which include menthol cigarettes and any other product that has distinguishable taste or aroma other than tobacco.
According to Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, the bill’s sponsor, flavored tobacco is a gateway drug to a “lifetime of nicotine addiction.” The legislation comes as New York and other states seek to curb teenage tobacco use after a string of vaping related deaths has killed at least 19 people. The state is trying to ban all flavored electronic cigarettes, such as the Juul.
The federal government has limited the sale of all flavor cigarettes except for Menthol since 2009, as a way to lower down the underage smoking. But according to officials, the “menthol loophole” has allowed tobacco companies to continue to market menthol and other flavor tobacco products to any teenager and other vulnerable communities.
— njdotcom (@njdotcom) October 27, 2019
Holyman stated that menthol flavors attract young people who are picking up smoking in their teenage years, which then leads to a lifetime of addiction. He believes in reducing tobacco for teenagers after he recently lost his mother to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is a smoking-related illness. He stated it could have been prevented if she had not smoked for 40 years.
Around the country, several cities have sought to limit the use of flavored tobacco products as usage among teenage and young adults continues to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 percent of middle schoolers and high schoolers who use tobacco, use flavored products including vapes, cigars, and E-cigarettes.
A memo attached to the bill read that seven states and over 220 localities have restricted the sale of flavor tobacco products in some form. If the legislation passes when lawmakers return to Albany in January 2020, New York will become the first state to officially ban menthol cigarettes for good. The bill includes penalties for retailers who violate the bill, caring fines of up to $100 for each product sold and a penalty of $50,000 for manufactures.
So could this be a good thing for New York? Definitely, it can certainly be an example for other states as well. Especially after the rise of deaths and illnesses due to tobacco use and e-cigarettes. Could New York finally change the smoking game?