NJ: Let's close ALL the flavored tobacco loopholes


  • Your Governor


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Let's close All the flavored tobacco loopholes

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a New Jersey resident and ACS CAN volunteer, I write to urge you to stop the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products during this year's legislative session.

As you may know, Massachusetts recently became the first state in the nation to pass comprehensive legislation restricting the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. It is my sincere hope that New Jersey will be the second.

Our new law restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes is a significant first step but stemming the youth tobacco epidemic will require a comprehensive approach that includes all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, hookah, and flavored smokeless tobacco products.

In 2009, the federal Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act outlawed flavored cigarettes, but exempted menthol and non-cigarette products due to tobacco industry lobbying. This is troubling and has correlated with an increase in youth use of menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, and flavored smokeless tobacco.

So-called "little cigars" have the look and feel of a cigarette, and are smoked like a cigarette, yet are often sold individually and are available in a variety of flavors and have likely benefited the most from the cigarette flavor prohibition. Smokeless tobacco companies have a long history of using flavorings used in waterpipe tobacco, along with the sweet aromas and use of water young users misperceive this practices as safer than cigarette smoking.

And of course the original flavoring is menthol, which creates a cooling effect, reduces the harshness of cigarette smoke and suppresses coughing, which makes inhaling smoke more tolerable for young users. Additionally, menthol may enhance the delivery of nicotine. Knowing that youth who experience less physiological effects of smoking are more likely to continue smoking regularly, the tobacco industry has spent decades manipulating its menthol brand-specific product line to appeal to youth, and in particular, African Americans.

According to the FDA, if menthol cigarettes were removed from the market 39% of all smokers, 45% of black menthol smokers, and nearly 65% of youth menthol smokers report they would try to quit. However, our experience with the passage of the 2009 Tobacco Control Act indicates that these quit attempts will be hindered if youth are able to substitute with flavored cigars or smokeless tobacco products.

As your constituent I urge you to end the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products in your FY2021 proposed budget to reduce youth access and save lives.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
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[Your Email]