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Tobacco Kills campaign pushes to end flavored products

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  • Staff Report 

Tobacco Kills New York, a coalition of more than 50 groups, is supporting Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, particularly menthol cigarettes. The group believes that these products are primarily marketed to specific communities, especially black and brown communities, to keep them as lifelong customers.


Dr. Steven Cook, a pediatrician and part of the American Heart Association Advocacy Committee, stated that flavored tobacco products are not only targeted towards young children but also to communities of color. According to him, the use of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products in communities of color is higher than others. He added that approximately 80 to 85 percent of adult black smokers smoke menthol, while it is estimated that a third to 50 percent of Latin youth who smoke will smoke a menthol cigarette.


Moreover, Cook noted that the health effects of tobacco use in New York are significant, with 28,000 New Yorkers dying from tobacco-related deaths each year. Tobacco use is also more addictive and harder to quit, especially menthol cigarettes. Cook stated that the only difference between flavored tobacco products and regular cigarettes is the flavoring, which masks the damage that these products do.

A recent Siena College poll revealed that 57 percent of New Yorkers were in favor of the proposed ban on menthol-flavored tobacco products. The coalition believes that this will close the loopholes that currently exist in the state’s tobacco laws. The Tobacco Kills New York ads, which will appear on TV, radio, web, and social media platforms throughout March, will be funded by the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund in support of the campaign’s goals.