It’s a consensus. Every smoker, former smoker and nonsmoker who stopped by our table at the Empire State Plaza concourse agreed that they didn’t want young people to ever start smoking. Nearly everyone also agreed that flavored tobacco products should not be available to addict young people.
One current smoker, pictured above left, expressed wanting to quit and was so passionate about wanting to prevent young people from tobacco addiction that he asked everyone who walked by to sign postcards agreeing that “Tobacco products shouldn’t be sweet, cheap and easy to get.” In a few short hours, 36 people from Buffalo, Albany, Brooklyn and places in between, signed those postcards. Many others stopped to talk with us about wanting to quit or wanting their loved ones to quit. One nurse whose husband has been addicted to menthol cigarettes for years said she was desperate for him. She said that if menthol cigarettes were banned, he would probably switch to regular tobacco-flavored cigarettes, hate them, then quit.
These are just a couple of stories but it reflects the data in very human reality. Most smokers – nearly 70% – want to quit. It’s not just a number but it’s people who are struggling to overcome an addiction that one gentleman told me was harder for him to overcome than an addiction to cocaine. And of course, this addiction not only impacts smokers but their loved ones. While 36 postcards don’t seem like many, if we had the chance to speak with every adult resident of New York State, we have no doubt that we would have gotten over 11 million signatures agreeing that flavored tobacco products should not be creating a new generation of smokers. We know this because 57% of New Yorkers surveyed (Siena poll) favored a ban on menthol-flavored tobacco products. Learn more at our It’s Not Just Menthol campaign page.