A growing number of smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to get their nicotine fix instead of smoking traditional cigarettes. Is “vaping” better than smoking? The e-cigarette industry would like us to believe that it is. But more research needs to be done, and federal regulation is needed.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently does not regulate the manufacture, marketing, and sale of e-cigarettes. In New York State, they cannot be sold to minors, but other states are still trying to determine how to deal with this relatively new product. As Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, has said, “Right now, it’s the wild, wild west.” Buyer beware.
According to the NY Post, the “Save Our Stores” Coalition, which is backed by the tobacco industry, conducted a telephone survey of 100 NYC retail owners and managers and asked them what they thought of City Hall’s proposed tobacco product display restrictions and minimum price of $10.50 per pack of cigarettes. About 70 percent claimed the new measures would harm their business, and 55 percent said they may have to lose jobs. Eighty percent said they also expect an increase of black market sales of cigarettes.
Meet Flat Phil, a cartoon tobacco executive designed by youth interns at the LGBT Community Center, who will be roaming the streets of NYC this summer! Short for Philip, Phil is always scheming up ways to target our communities and keep smoking popular. The NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City and our partners will use Phil over the coming weeks to raise awareness around the negative effects of big tobacco on our lives and neighborhoods.
Tobacco companies spend billions of dollars every year on marketing and advertisements, many of which target vulnerable communities including youth, the LGBT community, and ethnic and racial minorities, to promote smoking – the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. This summer, we’re using photographs of Flat Phil to put big tobacco in the spotlight and reveal their dirty tricks and tactics.
Want to join in our fight against Big Tobacco? For more information about Flat Phil, visit NYCSmokeFree.org/flatphil and be sure to follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to keep up with all things Phil-related! Who knows, he may even be targeting your community next!