Trump Administration Must Put Kids Before Juul and Take Mint/Menthol E-Cigarettes Off the Market
Statement of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe) and Truth Initiative
As organizations committed to protecting the health of our nation’s children, we strongly urge the Trump Administration to side with America’s kids over the tobacco industry by implementing its plan to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes – including mint and menthol flavors that are used by nearly two-thirds of high school e-cigarette users.
A failure to remove mint and menthol e-cigarettes from the market would be a capitulation to Juul and other companies that created the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic. This is exactly what Juul and its part-owner Altria want as Juul made clear last week when it suspended sales of other flavors, but not mint and menthol. Allowing continued mint and menthol sales would prioritize Juul’s profits over kids’ health as these flavors are very popular with teens and make up the vast majority of Juul’s sales (The New York Times and other media have reported that mint and menthol account for about 80% of Juul’s sales). We will not solve this public health crisis unless all flavored e-cigarettes are eliminated, including mint and menthol.
There is no public health justification for allowing continued sales of mint and menthol e-cigarettes, as the Administration itself made clear on September 11 when it announced its plan to remove all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol. According to preliminary data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey released by the Administration, 63.9% of high school e-cigarette users used mint and menthol flavors in 2019, up from 51.2% in 2018 and 42.3% in 2017. If mint and menthol are left on the market, even more kids will migrate to them. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was absolutely right when he spoke of a “huge spiking” in youth use of mint and menthol e-cigarettes and stated, “These products are still getting to kids and we cannot let a whole generation get addicted to them through mint and menthol and other flavors.”
Federal regulators have repeatedly failed to take the decisive action needed to protect our kids and head off the youth e-cigarette epidemic. With Secretary Azar reporting that 5 million kids now use e-cigarettes, we cannot afford further delay. We urge the Trump Administration to stand up to the tobacco industry and swiftly implement its plan to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol.