Letter: Restricting menthol-flavored tobacco policy

Cutting menthol tobacco will help decrease the consumption of the already-addicting drug.

Alexander Feng

Thanks to the Minnesota Daily for its story on the Minneapolis City Council looking to restrict the sale of menthol-flavored tobacco (“Minneapolis City Council looks to restrict menthol tobacco,” June 19, 2017).

In 2015, Minneapolis took a bold step to protect our city’s youth by restricting flavored tobacco products to stores where only adults can enter. Unfortunately, the policy left out the most popular flavor of all: menthol.

Menthol is a cool, minty flavor that has a numbing effect on the throat and makes it easier for youth to start smoking and harder to quit. The tobacco industry uses menthol to lure youth into smoking and targets marginalized communities with menthol tobacco, creating health inequities. As a medical student, I cannot stand by complacently while the tobacco industry continues to sentence these groups to a lifetime of tobacco addiction, disease and ultimately premature death.

Now is not the time to falter, as tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Minnesota and menthol use continues to rise among youth. I strongly support the ordinance introduced on June 16 that would include menthol in Minneapolis’ current flavor regulations.

Minneapolis’ kids are counting on the city council to continue being a leader in the state on health.

Editor’s Note: This letter has been edited slightly for grammar and style.

Alexander Feng

University Student