Activists show support for San Diego law to stop flavored tobacco sales

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Teenage boy smoking an electronic cigarette
A teenager secretly smoking an electronic cigarette. Photo via Pixabay

Anti-tobacco and vaping activists joined council members Jen Campbell and Marni von Wilpert on Thursday to show their support for ending the sale of flavored tobacco in San Diego.

A local ordinance prohibiting such sales, the SAAFE Act, is set to go before the San Diego City Council on April 25.

In a statement, Council member Marni von Wilpert accused the tobacco and vaping industry of targeting and addicting “a new generation of children to tobacco and nicotine products” by using “candy flavors to attract young children and make them think they are smoking something. safer than traditional cigarettes.

“We must act now to hold Big Tobacco accountable and to protect the health and safety of our young people,” she said.

The latest data shows that more than 2 million children used e-cigarettes last year, according to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, and 85% of them use flavored tobacco products. Locally, it is estimated that one in four high school students in San Diego uses e-cigarettes.

“Our lives and the health of our children are at stake. Now is the time to act,” said Council Member Jen Campbell.

A local coalition, San Diegans vs. Big Tobacco, is behind the push for the city’s ban. Members include the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, as well as parent, physician and youth advocacy groups.

“All members of the San Diego City Council have the opportunity to make a critical decision that will improve the health and future of the city and its residents in the name of public health, equity and social justice” , said Aida Castaneda, deputy director of the coalition.

San Diego is one of the largest cities in California without a prescription ending the sale of flavored tobacco products. More than 100 cities and counties in California, including San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana and Long Beach, are cracking down on the sale of these products.

California acted in 2020 to end the sale of flavored tobacco products, but that law is pending. The tobacco industry spent $20 million trying to overthrow him via a referendum in November 2022.

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