I am proud that the St. Paul City Council adopted an ordinance restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products. As a public health professor who has spent years researching prevention of commercial tobacco use, I know this policy will reduce youth tobacco use. When this ordinance takes effect in April, fruity and candy-flavored tobacco products will not be sold in stores where kids can enter. Research shows reducing access to tobacco products decreases youth tobacco use.
The tobacco industry has a long history of promoting their products to young people. About nine in 10 adult smokers began smoking before they were 18 years old. The tobacco industry knows it needs to attract young people in order to remain profitable. Strawberry-kiwi- and mango-flavored cigarillos and electronic cigarettes are one way the tobacco industry attempts to addict youth and attract a lifelong customer. Unfortunately, the consequences are not realized until after the person is fully addicted.
I am thankful the City of Saint Paul took bold action to reduce the tobacco industry’s influence on our young people. Reducing access to these candy-flavored products is the next step in preventing kids from beginning a dangerous addiction.
Jean L. Forster, Como Park