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Dear Honorable Mayor and City Council, <br />My name is Atticus O'Daniel and I am the Health Navigator at the LGBTQ Center OC. Tonight I <br />want to share with you some information on how flavored tobacco is harming youth, especially <br />LGBTQ+ youth. <br />According to the Truth Initiative, 19% of U.S. LGB high school students smoke cigarettes, which <br />is nearly double the rate of heterosexual students, while 31 % of transgender youth smoke <br />cigarettes. Additionally, More than twice as many LGB students in grades nine through 12 have <br />smoked a cigarette before the age of 13, compared to their heterosexual peers. LGB students <br />also smoke more frequently. LGBTQ youth are faced with more hardship, adversity, and <br />discrimintation than their heterosexual peers. This stress, and the desire to create community <br />and safety for one another, drive many to start using tobacco products as a way to cope. <br />Flavored tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes and menthol flavored products, are incredibly <br />popular with youth all over the U.S. According to the CDC, 86.4% of U.S. middle and high <br />school students who currently use tobacco have used a flavored product, 86.4% of current <br />e-cigarette users have used a flavored e-cigarette, and 86.6% of current cigar users have used <br />a flavored cigar. According to the Truth Initiative, flavored products are designed to be more <br />appealing to young people, which makes it easier to initiate and sustain tobacco use because it <br />masks the taste of tobacco. The top reasons why young people begin using e-cigarettes are <br />because they're curious, a peer or family member uses one, and the amount and appealing <br />flavors. There are currently over 15,000 flavors for e-cigarettes on the market and 81 % of them <br />are designed to be sweet. <br />According to the CDC, they contain 70 of the same cancerous causing chemicals that are in <br />traditional tobacco smoke, such as formaldehyde and acetone. They also contain ultrafine <br />particles that penetrate deep into the lungs, damaging them in the process. E-cigarettes contain <br />so much nicotine that their toxicity levels are similar to or even higher than that of cyanide. <br />Nicotine on the young brain severely impacts mood, decision making skills, memory, and <br />anxiety. <br />According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, recent data shows that out of the 160 <br />stores in Santa Ana that were surveyed, 53% sell individually wrapped cigarillos & 48% sell <br />vaping products. Additionally, more than 32% of stores have tobacco ads placed at <br />"kid-level"(under three feet) or are placed near kid -friendly items, such as candy or toys. In the <br />city of Santa Ana, there are 32 within 500 feet of a school and there are 93 within 1,000 feet of a <br />school. <br />I want to thank you for everything you have done for your community members so far. We know <br />you value young people's health, wellness, provide opportunities for them to succeed, and so <br />much more. I hope you consider a solution that will protect your young community members <br />from the harms of flavored tobacco products, which will in turn, provide them a significant <br />chance of living happy, healthy lives. <br />