American Lung Association urges Minnesota lawmakers to crack down on flavored tobacco products

Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul on sale in Chicago.
Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation's largest maker of vaping products, are offered for sale at the Smoke Depot on in Chicago, Ill.
Scott Olson | Getty Images 2018

The American Lung Association is urging state and federal lawmakers to crack down on the sale of flavored tobacco products.

In a scathing new report released Wednesday, the organization argues products like wintergreen chewing tobacco, fruit-flavored vapes and menthol cigarettes, as well as targeted marketing schemes, not only harm young users but can lead to a disproportionate number of tobacco deaths among Black Minnesotans compared to their white peers.

Pat McKone, advocacy director for the American Lung Association in Minnesota, told MPR News that funding prevention and cessation is key to solving this public health issue.

That comes despite Minnesota leading the nation in taking electronic cigarette maker Juul to trial, then settling for $60.5 million. Minnesota also gets money paid in perpetuity from The Tobacco Master Settlement in 1998, but McKone says those dollars go toward the general fund without an earmark.

“We need the legislature to step up and to pass a policy restricting flavored products. We need President Biden to actually sign on a federal law and finalize the rules from the FDA restricting flavors,” McKone said.

Listen to the full conversation by clicking the player above.

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