U.S. House Subcommittee Approves… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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U.S. House Subcommittee Approves Comprehensive Bill to Reverse Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic, Prohibit Flavored Tobacco Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
November 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee today has taken significant action to protect the health of America’s kids by approving the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, comprehensive legislation to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic and continue driving down youth tobacco use. The bill’s prohibition on flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, is especially critical to stop tobacco companies from continuing to target and addict kids with enticing flavors.

This bill is urgently needed as the youth e-cigarette epidemic is getting worse every day and it is being driven by flavored products. The latest data shows that 5.3 million kids now use e-cigarettes, including more than 1 in 4 high school students. Nearly all youth e-cigarette users use flavored products, and most cite flavors as a key reason for their use. The need for congressional action to prohibit flavored e-cigarettes has grown due to reports that the Trump Administration is backing off its own plan to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes in the face of intense lobbying by the e-cigarette industry. If the Administration won’t act to protect our kids, Congress must do so.

Menthol cigarettes also remain a major driver of youth tobacco use. More than half of youth smokers – including 7 out of 10 African-American youth smokers – smoke menthol cigarettes. The evidence shows that menthol makes it easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit.

In addition to prohibiting flavored tobacco products, this bill includes other strong provisions to accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use and save lives. These provisions:

  • Prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 nationwide.
  • Prohibit online sales of tobacco products.
  • Extend advertising restrictions that currently apply to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
  • Require the FDA to issue a final rule requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and advertising by the court-ordered deadline of March 15, 2020.

We applaud Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) for his leadership in introducing this legislation and moving it forward.