Eagle Rock students, educators urge LA City Council to ban flavored tobacco sales

EAGLE ROCK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Eagle Rock community is banding together against Big Tobacco and fighting the sale of flavored products critics claim target young people and get them hooked on nicotine.

Eagle Rock High School student Erin Choi is one of the students teaming up with classmates, educators, parents and health experts in encouraging the Los Angeles City Council pass an ordinance banning the sale of flavored tobacco in stores.

"Flavored tobacco remains available in the city of Los Angeles at drugstores. It's very accessible," Choi said Wednesday at a press conference.

"Young people are being enticed to try this every single day, and it's very dangerous," she added.

Los Angeles Unified school board member Jackie Goldberg said safety is a priority for schools in the district. Goldberg hopes the show of unity by the community will encourage the city council to end such tobacco sales, which she believes are designed to entice kids.

"Tobacco companies believe this, that they can attract more and more students to smoke or vape tobacco by using flavors like candy crush and bubble gum," Goldberg said.

"Really, it's aimed at getting young people who would never have tried tobacco," she added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2020 85% of high school students and 74% of middle school students who used a tobacco product within the last 30 days reported using a flavored tobacco product during that time.

As students head back to classrooms, many parents are concerned more and more kids are being enticed to join a youth e-cigarette epidemic sweeping the country.

"We've collaborated with a bunch of community partners to educate parents, to really band together and educate students, to tell parents how these vaping devices look," parent Suraya Fadel said. "They can be deceptive. To let them know that these kinds of candy flavors - cotton, bubble gum, you name it - it's disturbing, and I really hope that from the bottom of my heart that the city council of Los Angeles does the right things, steps up."

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