San Jose, Calif. – Local community leaders gathered (virtually) yesterday to discuss and voice their support for a proposed ordinance to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in San Jose, including flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, flavored shisha and menthol cigarettes. With one in eight deaths in Santa Clara County attributed to smoking and eight in 10 teens who use tobacco products currently choosing flavored options, event participants pressed San Jose City councilmembers for a swift hearing.
The San Jose City Council was set to hear the proposed policy on June 15, but the vote was delayed until September 2021, after heavy lobbying from the tobacco industry. “We were extremely disappointed to hear about the delay and witness firsthand Big Tobacco’s influence in our community,” said Phillip Gardiner, Dr. P.H., co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC). “We strongly urge the City of San Jose to stand strong against big tobacco companies to prevent them from exploiting our youth and communities of color to boost their bottom line.”
“Big Tobacco has been preying on communities of color for more than 60 years, with a disproportionate impact on Black Americans,” said council member Pam Foley. “This is an easy decision: It’s time for San Jose to join the more than 100 jurisdictions in California, including the counties of Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Cruz and the City and County of San Francisco, that have already ended the sale of flavored tobacco to safeguard their youth’s health. With each delay, more kids are getting addicted, and more lives are lost.”
Flavored products have also long been a favorite tobacco industry strategy for targeting kids, Black Americans, the LGBTQ community and other communities. Half of all kids who ever try smoking start with menthol cigarettes. The evidence shows that menthol makes it easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit. Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products will protect kids from tobacco addiction, advance health equity and save lives.
Participants included San Jose council woman Pam Foley and representatives from LeBeau Native Voice, International Children Assistance Network (ICAN), Korean American Community Service, Bill Wilson Center, Healthier Kids Foundation, Valley Medical Center Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, American Indian Community Action Board, Santa Clara Family Health Plan, LGBTQ+ Community Center, Health Trust, 100 Black Men of Silicon Valley, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Sixth District PTA and members of the San Jose Fights Flavors Campaign.
About the San Jose Fights Flavors Campaign
The San Jose Fights Flavors Campaign was formed to support passage of an ordinance ending the sale of flavored products in San Jose. The effort was supported by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and joined by dozens of leading organizations in an effort to protect youth and communities of color against the devastating impact of flavored tobacco products. Supporting organizations include: the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), Breathe California, Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Clara County Public Health, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), Tobacco-Free Coalition of Santa Clara County, and many others. Learn more: https://www.sanjosefightsflavors.org