Letters: Big Tobacco is trying to sweet-talk our kids into a lifetime of tobacco addiction

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Vaping flavored tobacco products is harming Yolo County’s youth and becoming a rapidly growing trend. This trend is largely attributed to the rise of popularity of e-cigarettes. While cigarette smoking rates are falling, Big Tobacco companies have hooked a new generation of smokers through flavored tobacco products. Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death and disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, current youth e-cigarette use increased by 78% during 2017-2018. Big Tobacco companies continue to target our youth with cheap, sweet flavored products – like strawberry, mint, chocolate, and cotton candy – that contain nicotine, including e-cigarettes. Nicotine is known to interfere with youth brain development and has long-term effects on development and mental health. National data shows that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before turning 21. Therefore, the youth of Yolo County are at a higher risk of developing nicotine dependence and more likely to use tobacco into their adult age. We, the Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, are concerned with how this growing usage rate of flavored tobacco will affect this next generation. With over 15,500 flavors, it’s easy to see why flavored tobacco is so attractive to youth. The Food and Drug Administration reports that 81 percent of youth who have ever tried an e-cigarette started with a flavored product. There are several solutions individual cities could take to counter tobacco’s targeting of our youth, including banning the sale of all flavored tobacco products or limiting the number of tobacco retailers in youth-sensitive areas, such as schools and parks. The Yolo County Board of Supervisors has already taken the step to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco by banning the sale of all flavored products in the unincorporated areas. We encourage other Yolo County communities to do the same. If you are interested in fighting back against Big Tobacco, join the Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coalition by contacting Sherrie Jensen at 530-666-8616. Sherrie Jensen Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coalition ]]>

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