Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids issued a statement on May 1 as the Los Angeles County historic law prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products – including candy-flavored e-cigarettes, cigars and menthol cigarettes – took effect in all unincorporated areas of the county. 

“The action couldn’t come at a better time, as health experts are warning that smoking and vaping can worsen the effects of COVID-19,” Myers said. “After years of declining youth tobacco use in California, tobacco companies are addicting a whole new generation of kids to nicotine by targeting them with candy-flavored products. With local, state and national governments all grappling with how to fight COVID-19, improving lung health, getting people to quit smoking and preventing kids from ever becoming tobacco users is more critical than ever.

Los Angeles County passed its ban on the sale of candy-flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the City of Los Angeles and the state of California are also considering similar proposals to protect the health of our kids, reduce smoking and vaping, and improve lung health in the age of COVID-19.

There is no time to waste as the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gone from bad to worse. According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among high school students nationwide increased to 27.5% in 2019 compared to 11.7% in 2017. Altogether, more than 5.3 million middle and high school students now use e-cigarettes.