Flavored tobacco products hook our youth

Flavored tobacco products are still widely available in rural communities. The CDC and FDA have exposed the harm that they pose to youth. However, retailers still sell these products. In 2021 the Smoke Free High Country Project, conducted a survey. We found that 92 percent of Susanville tobacco retailers sold flavored products. These products continue to hook our youth.

Sixteen stores in Susanville offer a wide range of products. Cigarettes cost at least $6.89. However, almost every store sold small packs of little cigars for $1 or less. Low prices increase access. These products include many appealing flavors. The flavors hook kids. It is no wonder youth smoking is on the rise. Big Tobacco makes money, even with the tax increases. They spend billions on marketing and coupons to lower the price. This keeps those addicted spending their money on tobacco products.

The American Lung Association gives tobacco control in Susanville a falling grade each year. The grade reflects a lack of local protections. For 19 years, the American Lung Association has graded state and federal governments on their tobacco policies. Grading is based on the quality of the policies in place. Quality policies reduce tobacco use. The grading increases public knowledge about local laws. These laws protect residents from tobacco. The grading also encourages local leaders to act. Results of our poll tell us that 58 percent of Lassen County residents agree small pack sizes increase access. Additionally, 45 percent of residents support a higher minimum price.

The tobacco industry targets rural communities to increase sales. This increase is at the cost of our health. Act now to protect your community. Visit the Smoke Free High Country website Smoke Free High Country |California Health Collaborative or contact us on Facebook and Instagram @smokefreehighcountry.

Caitlin Gannon