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L.A. to ban sale of candy, menthol flavored tobacco products

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance to ban the sale of the candy-flavored nicotine across the city.

Officials said L.A. is now the most populous city in the nation to take flavored nicotine products, including menthol cigarettes, off store shelves.

The council passed the motion with a 12-0 vote, garnering praise from health nonprofits like the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.

Officials argued that the use of candy flavors, including menthol, lured children into trying nicotine.

“Ending the sale of candy-flavored nicotine across the city means tobacco companies can not mask the harshness of cigarette smoke to make it more appealing to children and teens, and they can’t use menthol to target the African-American community,” Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said in a statement.

Following the vote, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said tobacco companies “can no longer use candy-flavors like peach gummy or minty-menthol to lure our kids into trying nicotine, a highly addictive substance that harms brain development and leads to a lifetime of health issues and a shorter lifespan.”

According to the American Lung Association in California, 4 out of 5 youth who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.

“Strong measures such as this are critical to reducing the appeal of tobacco to youth and adults and preventing e-cigarettes and new products from addicting a new generation to nicotine,” said Dr. Richard J. Shemin, Board President of the American Heart Association Los Angeles.

L.A.’s new restrictions are set to go into effect in January.

Statewide, lawmakers have in 2020 approved a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, but it was put on hold due to a referendum backed by major tobacco companies.

Californians will vote this year on whether the state should ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.

“Cigarette smoking causes more than 80% of lung cancer deaths,” said Primo J. Castro of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “The City of L.A.’s ordinance will stop tobacco companies from targeting youth with fruity, mint, menthol and other candy flavors to addict them to nicotine, and it ends Big Tobacco’s discriminatory and deadly practice of deliberately targeting Black neighborhoods with marketing for menthol cigarettes.”

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