In case you missed it, Philadelphia achieved two major public health wins in December. Mayor Kenney signed two new laws to help protect the city’s youth from tobacco addiction.

These new laws ban the sale of flavored cigars, cigarillos and roll-your-own tobacco. They also restrict the sale of flavored and high-nicotine e-cigarettes to adults-only stores. These new restrictions mean that stores that allow youth under 21 to enter will only be allowed to sell low nicotine e-cigarettes that are unflavored or tobacco flavored. Stores that admit kids can no longer sell the cheap, flavored cigars and cigarillos that have become so popular across the city.

As in many places around the country, the widespread availability of e-cigarettes and cigarillos in Philadelphia is threatening to reverse years of hard-fought progress to reduce tobacco use. According to local data, while cigarette use has declined among youth, teen e-cigarette use has increased rapidly. This is especially troubling as teens who use e-cigarettes are 3.5 times more likely to smoke cigarettes, even when they don’t intend to.

Members of the Advocacy Institute held signs in support of the two bills during December’s City Council session, where the bills passed.

Over half of adult e-cigarette users (53%) in Philadelphia also smoke cigarettes. Recent data shows that smokers who use both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes increase their risk of lung damage.  E-cigarette companies claim that their products help users quit or are less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Yet, Philadelphia’s high rate of dual use of these products casts doubt on these claims.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to clear these products from the market, it has failed to do so. As a result, many states and large cities, like Philadelphia, are taking direct action to protect their children from these harmful products.

The passage of these new laws proves the city’s continued commitment to reducing adult and youth tobacco use, and to ending the thousands of deaths that tobacco causes in Philadelphia each year.

Click here for more information about these new laws.

No e-cigarette is approved by FDA to help people quit smoking. For FREE help to quit smoking, call 1-800-Quit-Now or visit Smoke-Free Philly.