Association Says Colorado Youth Vaping and Flavored Tobacco Products Threaten Progress in Reducing Tobacco Use
COLORADO (KRDO) — The American Lung Association’s 20and The annual State of Tobacco Control report, released today, finds Colorado has earned failing grades in adopting policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.
The “State of Tobacco Control” report assesses state and federal decision makers on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use, the nation’s leading cause of preventable death. The report also recommends smoke-free laws and policies that have been proven to save lives.
Here in Colorado, over the past 20 years, the Association says lawmakers have made significant strides to reduce tobacco consumption, such as the creation of a statewide tobacco retailer’s license. , removing statewide preemption on tobacco control issues, and increasing the tax on tobacco products, however, “there is more work to be done.” In Colorado, the adult smoking rate is still 12.4% and the high school smoking rate is 32.3%.
“While we’ve seen tremendous progress, smoking remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, claiming approximately 5,070 lives each year in Colorado,” said JoAnna Strother, senior director of advocacy at The Lung Association. “And our progress on tobacco control policy has not been equal. We continue to see the unequal burden of tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke in communities facing health disparities.
This year’s report noted the need for Colorado policymakers to focus on ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. According to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than two million high school and college students use e-cigarettes, and more than 80% of those kids use flavored e-cigarettes. Additionally, menthol cigarettes continue to be the leading cause of tobacco-related death and disease in black communities, with nearly 81% of black Americans who smoke using them. Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol, will not only help end youth vaping, but will also help reduce the disproportionate impact of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars on many communities, including Black Americans, LGBTQ+ Americans, and youth.
“Kids follow flavors, so ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Colorado is key to ending youth tobacco use. We call on Colorado lawmakers to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, throughout Colorado,” Strother said.
“In 2022, Colorado must redouble its efforts to adopt the proven policies called for in the ‘State of Tobacco Control’ to help end tobacco use. We cannot afford to wait 20 years more and allow another generation to suffer addiction, disease and death caused by tobacco,” Strother said.