PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The City of Milwaukie passed a resolution on Tuesday calling on Clackamas County and the State of Oregon to ban flavored tobacco products in an effort to protect kids from nicotine addiction.
The resolution targets the role tobacco lobbyists have played in marketing their products to kids and teens, noting the availability of candy-flavored tobacco products, including bubblegum, root beer, and mint.
“The millions Big Tobacco spends on lobbying so retailers can continue selling their predatory, candy-flavored products has triggered what the Surgeon General and the FDA have called an ‘epidemic’ of e-cigarette use across the nation,” the resolution states.
According to the city, tobacco companies spend $115 million for marketing in Oregon every year and say the companies target school zones across the United States as “prime locations” for retailers.
“For too long, the tobacco industry has preyed upon our youth, even surrounding their schools with vape & tobacco shops,” Councilor Adam Khosroabadi said in a press release from the Flavors Hook Oregon Kids advocacy group. “I’m urging the legislature to not walk out on our children and instead protect our future generations from a lifetime of addiction and unnecessary deaths. Do the right thing.”
The city says that nearly 11% of 11th grade students use e-cigarettes and 25% of inspected retailers in Oregon sold tobacco to underage users in 2022.
“Big Tobacco is ruthless in its attempts to entice and addict future generations to its deadly products,” Jamie Dunphy of the American Cancer Society said in the press release. “The tobacco industry knows that flavors hook kids, which is why they target them with candy, fruit and minty sweet, menthol-flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes. Research shows that flavors drive youth tobacco use, with nearly 90% of youth who have ever used tobacco starting with a flavored product.”
The resolution comes after the Multnomah County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the county’s flavored nicotine ban, which will go into effect in January 2024.
Earlier in 2023, lawmakers considered House Bill 3090, which would ban flavored tobacco products statewide, however the legislation remains in committee.