PHILADELPHIA–Mayor Kenney, flanked by teenaged activists and members of City Council, signed two new laws and an Executive Order yesterday intended to help protect Philadelphia children from the dangers of addictive cigarillos and e-cigarettes. Following a three-month education period and a three-month warning period, flavored and high-nicotine e-cigarettes will only be allowed to be sold in adults-only stores. After a sixty-day education period, no candy or fruit flavored cigarillos will be allowed to be sold in Philadelphia. And beginning today, all City properties, including parks and recreation centers, are smoke- and vape-free.
Mayor Kenney said, “I’m proud to sign these two bills into law to help to protect Philadelphia’s children from the harmful effects of vaping. While teens are less likely than ever to smoke cigarettes, many teens are now experimenting with cigarillos and e-cigarettes that have candy flavors. Today, we’re taking action against that.”
As of December 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2,291 hospitalizations due to EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury), and 48 deaths in the United States. Many of those afflicted by EVALI were hooked by high nicotine flavored e-cigarettes heavily marketed to teens. The vaping law signed by Mayor Kenney will make it more difficult for teens to get access to e-cigarettes in Philadelphia by restricting the sale of any non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes and paraphernalia or any high-nicotine e-cigarettes and paraphernalia to adults-only stores. Unflavored or tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes and those under certain nicotine levels can be sold in any store in Philadelphia with a valid and active tobacco license.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “I have been deeply troubled by the unfolding of the youth vaping epidemic and the widespread sale of fruit and candy flavored cigarillos. These products threaten to undermine years of hard-fought progress to reduce adult and youth smoking. These laws are a necessary step in protecting our children.”
Often selling for four- or five-for-a-dollar, brightly colored candy-flavored cigarillos can be found in stores throughout Philadelphia. Due to the extremely low cost and sweet flavors, cigarillos are an easy way for children to start an addiction to tobacco. The law signed by Mayor Kenney today bans their sale in Philadelphia after a sixty-day education and outreach period.
The Health Department encourages all Philadelphians currently addicted to tobacco and other nicotine products to consider quitting. Clinically proven nicotine replacement therapy options like the patch and gum are available. Medications can be especially effective when combined with counseling and support. The Pennsylvania Free Quitline provides free quit coaching in several languages and provides quit smoking medications at no cost. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).