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Tobacco Provisions in Congressional Health Bill Won’t Stop the Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic – It’s Critical to Eliminate the Flavored Products that Lure Kids

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
December 11, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With over 5 million kids using e-cigarettes, we need bold action now to address this worsening epidemic and prevent e-cigarettes from addicting a generation of children. The tobacco provisions included in health care legislation announced in Congress on Sunday will not solve this epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. This agreement leaves out the most impactful action Congress could take: A prohibition on flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Congress should not move forward with the tobacco provisions until they have been strengthened and cannot be limited by what the tobacco industry says is acceptable.

Raising the tobacco age to 21 would be a positive step, but it is not a substitute for prohibiting the flavored products that are luring and addicting our kids. The evidence is clear that most youth e-cigarette users use flavored products, and these youth cite flavors as a key reason for their use. The other tobacco provisions in this agreement also will not bring about meaningful change, but will lead to the tobacco companies falsely claiming that the youth e-cigarette problem has been solved even as it continues to grow worse every day.

This agreement in no way alters the need for Congress and the Trump Administration to clear the market of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, or for states and cities to move forward with proposals to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products. We urge Congress to insist that the proposed legislation include a prohibition on the flavored products that are addicting our kids.