San Diego City Council Takes Critical Step to Help Reduce Health Disparities by Ending the Sale of Most Flavored Tobacco Products

Nation’s leading cancer advocacy organization commends the City of San Diego for standing up against Big Tobacco’s predatory marketing

April 25, 2022

San Diego, Calif. – The San Diego City Council voted Monday in favor of enacting an ordinance that will end the sale of most flavored tobacco products including e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes.

The following is a statement from Lynda Barbour, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Southern California government relations director:

“By removing menthol cigarettes, flavored e-cigarettes and most other flavored tobacco products from its shelves, San Diego has taken a critical first step to improve public health and help decrease health disparities in our communities.

“Menthol, other candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products are a key part of the tobacco industry’s strategy to bait youth into a potential lifetime of addiction. Flavors are the main reason why kids start using tobacco products.

“Big Tobacco also has a long history of using flavored tobacco products to target populations with limited incomes, communities of color and LGBTQ+ communities. This has led to a significant and disproportionate burden posed by tobacco use.

“Cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes are the leading causes of death among Latinos, all of which can be caused by smoking. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Black Americans still have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial group in the U.S. for most cancers; and Black men have the highest cancer incidence rate.

“The SAAFE Act is similar to the state’s flavored tobacco law, which the tobacco industry is trying to overturn with a referendum. The City Council’s action today, led by Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, ensures that no matter the state election results, children and communities in San Diego will be protected from tobacco-related disability, disease and death. 

“ACS CAN volunteers commend the San Diego City Council and look forward to continue advancing policies that help reduce the suffering and death caused by cancer, including laws that prevent children from smoking and help adults quit.”

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