Despite the success of tobacco prevention and cessation programs, tobacco use is still highly prevalent among youth and adult populations. A decrease in cigarette smoking among youth has coincided with an increase in the use of e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. Colorado is at the epicenter in the fight to protect youth and vulnerable communities from harmful tobacco use. In 2019 nearly 26% of youth reported using e-cigarettes. This dramatic increase in youth tobacco use will lead to a lifetime of addiction, chronic disease and early death for many of these young Coloradans. We need to reverse this trend as soon as possible.
hero_image_alt_text===Colorado State Capitol
thumbnail_alt_text===Colorado State Capitol
The 2016 Surgeon General Report on e-cigarettes concluded that flavors are among the most commonly cited reasons for using e-cigarettes among youth and young adults. One national study found that younger age was a significant predictor of flavored tobacco product use. The increased appeal of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products has been popularized by the marketing and promotion of “fun, enticing” flavorings to youth and also to adults looking for nicotine alternatives to cigarettes.
- Results from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey indicated that one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students report current use of e-cigarettes.
- Fruit (73.1%), mint (55.8%), menthol (37.0%), and candy/desserts (36.4%) are the most popular flavors reported among high school users of e-cigarettes.
- Fruit (75.6%), candy/desserts (47.2%), mint (46.5%), and menthol (23.5%) are the most used flavors reported among middle school users of e-cigarettes.
- 81% of youth who had ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product.
But these are not the entire story. Menthol is a serious problem and must be included in any policy to restrict flavored tobacco.
- Menthol cigarettes are heavily marketed to African American smokers, 85.8% of whom use menthol products. Menthol is also popular with Latinos, 46% of whom use menthol products.
- Among youth who currently used any type of e-cigarettes, 37% of high school users and 23.5% of middle school users use menthol flavored e-cigarettes.
- Removal of menthol from tobacco products is essential to reduce the use of tobacco among youth and communities historically targeted by the tobacco industry.
We are currently supporting efforts in places like Denver where councils are considering ending the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products and in other cities where communities are in the process of passing tobacco retail licenses or taxes to deter underage use.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help and get in involved with the Denver and other local campaigns in Colorado, please email [email protected].