Increase in Teen Vaping

“While we haven’t seen the report yet, we are extremely concerned about the recent increase in teen use of electronic cigarettes,” said Cheryl Bettigole, director of chronic disease prevention for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. “It has become increasingly clear in recent years that e-cigarettes are dangerous to teens, and that e-cig use appears to make it more likely that a teen will go on to smoke combustible cigarettes.”

By Mari Schaefer

Racial Differences Dictate Tobacco Problems

“The fact that kids aren’t smoking cigarettes is deceptive,” said Cheryl Bettigole, director of chronic disease prevention for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. “Total tobacco use is up.”
City data shows youth cigar use (including cigarillos) 
doubled from 2011 to 2015.

Among black teens specifically, it nearly tripled. On the other hand, white teens were nearly twice as likely to have used a vaping product.

By Aneri Pattani

Council Hearings on Tobacco Retailer Regulations

Health Commissioner Tom Farley will oppose the bill. He doesn’t buy the rationale.
“There was a Wawa that opened up that was above the cap, and so they didn’t get a permit. And I went and visited it and the store was absolutely thriving,” he said. “It was packed with customers and (had) a long line at the cash registers, so these stores can do quite well without selling the No. 1 cause of death in Philadelphia.”
Farley noted that cigarette sales total only a fraction of the business of stores with permits, and the bill would have a hugely negative health impact, especially in low-income neighborhoods where the density of cigarette sales is highest.

By Pat Loeb

On Wednesday, Council voted against a bill that aimed to reverse some of those regulations. The measure would have allowed a tobacco retail permit to be transferred to a new owner even if a store was near a school or exceeded the cap on the number of retailers in the area.

“We’re grateful that the City Council supported the Board of Health’s action to protect Philadelphia’s children from the marketing of the nation’s biggest killer, tobacco,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

The goal of the original regulations was to curb youth smoking, a particularly big problem for Philadelphia, where more than a quarter of youths use tobacco. Although rates of cigarette smoking have dropped here as in much of the country, rates of cigar and e-cigarette use are climbing.

By Aneri Pattani

On the other side were numerous health organizations, parents and Health Commissioner Tom Farley, who said the rule is already working to reduce the number of cigarette retailers in low-income neighborhoods, where there are three times as many tobacco sellers as in other neighborhoods.
“Researchers have shown that children living in neighborhoods with more tobacco sellers are significantly more likely to start smoking, and adult smokers in those neighborhoods are less likely to quit,” Farley said.

By Pat Loeb

Racial Differences in Smoking in Philadelphia

Research shows that people of lower income are more likely to live in neighborhoods with high rates of tobacco retailers. In Philadelphia, which has the highest rate of adult smokersamong the nation’s 10 largest cities, almost half of all tobacco retailers are located in low-income communities, according to the city Department of Public Health.

By Aneri Pattani

FDA Announcement on Banning Menthol

“For too long, flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes have been the on-ramp to smoking for teenagers in Philadelphia.  Prohibiting these flavored products would be a major advance in the battle against the nation’s biggest killer – tobacco,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “We also support FDA’s proposed actions to protect teens from the marketing of flavored e-cigarettes.”

By Aneri Pattani

Juul Stopping Selling Some Flavors

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Tom Farley said the company’s actions don’t go far enough. “Juul is making these changes because it is under pressure from the FDA.  But if they were serious about protecting kids, they would discontinue all of their flavorings and target their marketing specifically to adult smokers who want to quit,” Farley said in a statement.

By Aneri Pattani