American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Says Los Angeles City Council Committee Actions Today Stop Short of Adequate Protections for Addressing Flavored Tobacco Epidemic

Urges Full City Council to Remove Exemptions for Menthol Sold in Adult-only Stores and Hookah Bars

December 5, 2019


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) issues this statement from Managing Director Jim Knox following the vote by the Los Angeles City Council’s Committee on Health, Education, Neighborhoods, Parks, Arts and River today to restrict flavored tobacco sales:

“The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) says action taken by the LA City Council committee today to address the flavored tobacco epidemic falls short. The protections don’t go far enough because they exempt hookah sold at Hookah bars and allow menthol sales at adult-only stores. 

“Exempting flavored hookah and menthol, even to adult-only stores or onsite consumption locations, is a mistake. The full City Council will have a chance to fix the mistake as early as next week when it takes up the issue.

“ACS CAN will continue to work with city leaders, urging the full City Council will pass comprehensive restrictions on the sale of all flavors in all tobacco products. Anything less will be viewed as diminishing the health and safety of Los Angeles youth.

“Flavors are driving the e-cigarette epidemic and its unprecedented increase in youth tobacco uptake. New data released today from the Centers for Disease Control report results of the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The analysis found an alarming one-quarter of youth are current tobacco product users.

“ACS CAN reserves the right to oppose the overall ordinance if menthol and hookah are exempt in any way in the next phase of this effort. Flavors attract young people to tobacco. We are concerned that allowing the sale of any flavored product would be attractive to kids.

“Menthol cigarettes are disproportionately used by African American, Asian American, LGBTQ and low-income communities already burdened by tobacco-related disease, including lung cancer. African American men are more likely to be diagnosed and die from lung cancer than any other population.

“Hookah contains tobacco and is unsafe. According to the World Health Organization, smoking hookah for 45-60 minutes is the same as smoking 100 or more cigarettes.

“New data released by the Food and Drug Administration shows youth use of e-cigarettes in high school skyrocketed, with a 135% increase over the past two years. Preliminary numbers show that an alarming 27.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. More than 60% used mint or menthol flavored e-cigarettes, only 2% less than fruit flavored products and significantly more than candy flavors. 

“More than 30 other cities and counties, including San Francisco and Los Angeles County, have already instituted comprehensive flavored tobacco restrictions that cover all flavors and all products including hookah, menthol cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and cigars.

“The best course of action is to eliminate sales of all flavored tobacco products and we urge the full City Council to pass these protections without delay and without exemptions.”


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit


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