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Flavored tobacco policy resource center

Flavor Map & Quarterly Update

Local flavored tobacco policies (as of June 30, 2021)

10/7/2021

This resource presents a quarterly breakdown on the current state of U.S. jurisdictions with policies on flavored tobacco products.

Map of localities with flavored tobacco policies (June 30, 2021)

6/30/2021

Map of flavor policies across the US (updated quarterly).

Truth Initiative Fact Sheets/Reports

Local restrictions on flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products

4/1/2020

Sales restrictions on all flavored tobacco products, including all types of menthol products, are gaining momentum at the local and state level. By the end of 2019, 274 localities placed restrictions on flavored tobacco products, and of those, 88 have comprehensive bans on menthol products which are sometimes exempted from flavor policies.

Study highlights importance of strong, local flavored tobacco policies, as federal regulation falls short

2/1/2020

The exemption of menthol cigarettes and other flavored products from the 2009 federal ban will require more strict regulations on tobacco products at the state level, including a need for policies that reach vulnerable populations and enforcement on flavored products that do not exempt mint and menthol flavors.

The 3 main reasons youth use e-cigarettes

3/1/2018

According to a report from the CDC, perceived harm of cigarettes, characterizing flavors, and family/friend use were the most common reasons for youth e-cigarette use.

5 strategies for passing local laws against flavored tobacco

12/5/2017

In 2017, five cities passed local menthol bans and other types of flavored tobacco product restrictions. To better understand what it takes to pass these policies, Truth Initiative® spoke to public health officials in 12 cities across the Northeast, West and South for a new Truth Initiative report, “Menthol and flavor policies: Lessons from the field.” Some of the cities had passed menthol restrictions, others had considered the measures and some had not taken any steps toward the policies.

Menthol and flavor policies: Lessons from the field

12/1/2017

Truth Initiative® set out to learn more about how cities implement flavor/menthol restrictions, with the goal of learning what types of education might be helpful to encourage more cities to consider flavor-restriction policies — especially those that include menthol. Researchers spoke with public health officials in 13 cities across the Northeast, West and South.

Six highlights from the Tobacco Control special issue on flavors

12/5/2016

From the Tobacco Control Special Issue, this article highlights key reasons as to why flavored tobacco products are so appealing to youth and young adults. From targeted marketing by tobacco companies, to perceived harm of flavored products compared to non-flavored.

Truth Initiative Statements/News Updates

As E-Cigarette Makers Face Critical September 9 Deadline, Leading Health Groups Urge FDA Not to Allow Sale of Any Flavored Products

8/10/2020

As manufacturers of e-cigarettes and certain other tobacco products face a September 9, 2020 deadline to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to keep their products on the market, six leading public health and medical organizations today urged the FDA not to authorize the sale of any flavored product given the overwhelming evidence that flavored products appeal to kids and the lack of evidence such products help smokers quit.

FDA Action on Disposable E-Cigarettes is a Strong Step Forward and Underscores Need for Comprehensive Regulation of All Types of Flavored Vaping Products

7/21/2020

We applaud the FDA’s action against the makers of Puff Bar, the e-cigarette wildly popular among teens, along with nine additional disposable e-cigarette manufacturers to remove their flavored disposable e-cigarettes and youth-appealing e-liquid products from the market for not having the required pre-market authorization.  Three firms received warning letters for illegally marketing disposable e-cigarettes: Puff Bar, HQD Tech USA LLC and Myle Vape Inc. Puff Bar and HQD Tech USA LLC were also cited for an additional violation for marketing their products as modified risk tobacco products without an FDA order in effect that permits such marketing. While a strong step in the right direction, these FDA warning letters are not a substitute for much needed comprehensive regulation that removes all types of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids, including mint and menthol, to protect our nation’s youth.

New Truth Initiative Study Finds JUUL Use Doubled in One Year as Tobacco and Nicotine Use Among Youth Reaches Highest Level in Decades

1/21/2020

The percentage of teens and young adults aged 15-34 who have ever used JUUL more than doubled between 2018 and 2019, according to a new Truth Initiative® study published today in JAMA Pediatrics, highlighting that JUUL continues to drive the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The percentage of current JUUL users who use the device regularly — on at least 10 of the last 30 days — increased to more than a third, from 26.1% of current JUUL users in 2018 to 37.6% in 2019. These findings are similar to those reported in the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey data showing that more than a quarter of high schoolers — 27.5% — are now vaping, up from 20.8% in 2018, with 21.4% vaping on a daily basis.

New study raises concerns that youth vaping nicotine may reverse declines in other drug use

1/15/2020

The dramatic drop in youth smoking since 2000 has led to declines in other drug use among young people, according to a new study that raises concerns about whether the rise of vaping nicotine could serve as a gateway to other drug use and reverse progress on both these fronts.

The Trump Administration’s New E-Cigarette Policy Is Sadly Deficient Leaving Menthol and Flavors Like Cotton Candy and Gummy Bear on the Market Placing Politics Ahead of the Protection of America’s Youth

1/2/2020

The Trump administration’s e-cigarette policy announced today is vastly inferior to the one promised on Sept. 11 and keeps menthol and other youth-appealing e-cigarette flavors on the market. It clearly favors the very industry that has ensnared a new generation to become tobacco users, the highest number in nearly 20 years. The policy allows menthol flavors in all forms, including pods and all flavored liquid nicotine like cotton candy and gummy bear used in open systems, to remain on the market. This is a move that clearly puts politics and industry profits ahead of the health of America’s youth and virtually green lights the continuation and escalation of the youth e-cigarette epidemic.

Trump Administration Should Not Exempt Vape Shops or Any Flavors from Its Plan to Clear the Market of All Flavored E-Cigarettes

11/16/2019

As organizations committed to protecting the health of our nation’s children, we are alarmed by reports that the Trump Administration may be further backing away from its plan to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes and may be considering allowing the continued sale of flavored e-cigarettes in vape shops. This follows reports that the Administration is considering exempting menthol e-cigarettes from its proposal. Below are examples of states, cities, and localities who have adopted flavored policy restrictions as well as examinations of the types of on-the-ground research needed to inform and bolster such efforts. They include case studies conducted by Truth Initiative and other organizations. 

FDA takes steps on flavored e-cigarettes, but leaves youth at risk for addiction

3/14/2019

The highly anticipated announcement by departing Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on proposed restrictions for flavored e-cigarettes and cigars, including how and where they are sold, is a step in the right direction — but the proposals are no match for the soaring rate of e-cigarette use among teenagers. The action underscores the urgency and scope of the work ahead for incoming acting FDA Commissioner Norman E. (Ned) Sharpless to accelerate progress in reversing the growing youth e-cigarette epidemic and continuing to drive down both youth and adult use of combustible tobacco.

Case Studies

Voices from the Field: Implementation and Enforcement of Retail Point-of-Sale Tobacco Policies by Community Partners

1/1/2021

In January 2012, Providence, Rhode Island became the first city in the state to adopt the Rhode Island Model Tobacco Policy (RIMTP), which was implemented the following year. Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Tobacco Control Program staff held informal meetings with community partners to learn about their experiences with retail observations and retailer education. In addition, one enforcement officer for the City of Providence participated in a semi-structured interview covering these and other topics. These conversations provided opportunities to discuss successes and challenges, lessons learned, and recommendations for future work. This document summarizes those voices from the field, which may offer insight to an increasing number of localities across the U.S. that are working on point-of-sale tobacco control efforts.

“Because there's just something about that menthol”: Exploring African American Smokers’ Perspectives on Menthol Smoking and Local Menthol Sales Restrictions

8/1/2020

There is growing momentum to restrict local menthol tobacco sales; however, little is known about perceptions among populations most impacted. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, where menthol restrictions were passed in 2017, African American smokers expressed limited awareness and uneven policy support. While some participants were unconvinced the restriction would impact smoking, others indicated it would encourage decreased consumption and prompt quit attempts.

No More Flavors: A Case Study Addressing Flavored Tobacco in San Francisco

8/1/2020

In 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a policy that prohibits the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, including mentholated cigarettes. San Francisco’s Flavored Tobacco Sale policy aims to eliminate youth access to flavored tobacco products and reduce the disproportionate impact of flavored tobacco on communities of color. At the time of the policy’s adoption, San Francisco was the only municipality to have adopted a comprehensive policy that limits flavored tobacco sales at a citywide level.

State of the Evidence: Flavored Tobacco Product Bans or Restrictions

1/1/2020

Flavored tobacco bans or restrictions are a relatively new phenomenon. Even so, the latest public opinion polls indicate the majority of Americans support these policies, and both predictive and evaluation studies, including compliance studies, suggest that under the right conditions comprehensive flavor bans or restrictions have the ability to reduce tobacco use and save lives.

How Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth Passed Nation-Leading Menthol Tobacco Sales Restrictions

2/1/2019

Advocates in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth were successful at establishing broad-based, diverse, knowledgeable coalitions to successfully pass ordinances that restrict locations where menthol tobacco products can be sold. While each campaign had unique characteristics adapted to their local situation, all three navigated policy environments that were placing other conditions on the same businesses impacted by the menthol ordinance, such as minimum wages and mandatory sick time. The tobacco industry also attempted to misdirect the focus in all three cities with charges of criminalization and racism. All three efforts were successful due to careful preparation, well-planned campaigns, extensive outreach and mobilization, strong media campaigns and diverse coalitions representative of the people in their communities most impacted by menthol tobacco products.

Community-led Action to Reduce Menthol Cigarette Use in the African American Community

1/1/2019

In May 2015, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation requiring the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to fund a one-time grant of $200,000. The grant aimed to engage the African American community to address the disproportionately high use of cigarettes by African Americans, particularly the use of menthol-flavored cigarettes. Funding for this grant came from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP). The grant required that the awardee partner with a community-based organization. MDH recommended that the awarded SHIP grantee direct 70 percent of the funding to community activities through a sub-grant to an African American community-based organization.

External Resources

African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council

AATCLC educates the public about the effects of tobacco on the Black community by highlighting the predatory marketing tactics employed by the tobacco industry and emphasizing the need to regulate all flavored tobacco products (including menthol). Resources include videos, news updates and a curriculum (by request) on the history of tobacco industry influence on Black Lives and Black Lungs.

The Center for Black Health & Equity

CFBH works to facilitate the implementation and promotion of comprehensive policies, community-led programs and culturally competent public health campaigns that benefit people of African descent. This resource provides fact sheets, reports, podcasts and social media creatives that focus on issues ranging from tobacco control to health disparities that disproportionately impact the black community such as diabetes, heart disease and mental health.

Public Health Law Center

The Public Health Law Center, a national public interest legal resource center dedicated to improving health through the power of law and policy, provides a number of resources on regulating flavored commercial tobacco products at the federal, state, and local levels, including policy considerations for addressing menthol tobacco products, examples from select U.S. jurisdictions that restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, and practical guides on adopting and implementing flavored tobacco product policies.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

CTFK is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. This site includes a searchable CTFK library of U.S. Resources by state or issue, including fact sheets on fighting flavored tobacco on both the federal and state/local levels.