Statement: AHA Asks New York City Council to Protect Kids’ Health and Stand Up to Big Tobacco

The American Heart Association maintains that flavored tobacco products are reversing decades of progress in reducing tobacco use among youth and worsening the persistent disparities regarding addiction among communities of color. In April of this year, we joined the Flavors Hook Kids NYC campaign and expressed support for two pieces of legislation in New York City: Intro 1362, designed to restrict the sale of all flavored electronic cigarette products, including the more than 15,000 flavors of e-cigarettes; and Intro 1345, aimed at restricting the sale of menthol, mint and wintergreen cigarettes. This week’s development that the City Council will only vote on the flavored e-cigarettes bill (Intro 1362) at the November 26th Council meeting, serves only the interest of Big Tobacco and fails to protect the health of New Yorkers.

“We are deeply disappointed by this decision to move forward with only one of the two bills before City Council. We had the opportunity to do it right by restricting access to all flavors of all products,” said Robin Vitale, VP of Health Strategies, American Heart Association in New York City. “The fact that we are leaving menthol tobacco behind is alarmingly short-sighted. It will only allow the tobacco industry to further sentence thousands of New Yorkers to death by tobacco-related illnesses. We call on our City Council champions – the majority of whom are sponsors of the legislation – to ask Speaker Johnson to quickly rectify this misstep.”