Gov. Bullock’s Action to End the… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Gov. Bullock’s Action to End the Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes Will Protect Montana Kids

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
June 16, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds Gov. Steve Bullock for his action today to end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in Montana. To protect public health, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services filed a proposed rule to permanently end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in the state. This new policy will be a tremendous victory for Montana’s kids and exactly what’s needed to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic that is addicting a new generation of young people.

We commend Gov. Bullock for his strong leadership in confronting the youth e-cigarette epidemic and protecting the health of Montana’s kids. In October, Gov. Bullock announced emergency action temporarily halting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

Today’s action couldn’t come at a better time as health experts are warning that smoking and vaping can worsen the effects of COVID-19. The coronavirus attacks the lungs, and behaviors that harm the lungs put individuals at greater risk. The harmful impact of smoking on the lungs is well documented, and there is growing evidence that e-cigarette use can also harm lung health.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services filed the proposed rule with the Montana Secretary of State to make permanent the rules prohibiting the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes in Montana. The policy must undergo a public hearing and public comment before taking effect.

Montana stands to become the fifth state to prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, joining Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York (Massachusetts prohibited the sale of all flavored tobacco products, a strong step others states should take as well to stop tobacco companies from targeting kids with flavored products once and for all). In addition, over 270 communities across the country have cracked down on the sale of flavored tobacco products, include e-cigarettes.

There is no time to waste as the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gone from bad to worse. According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (2019 NYTS), e-cigarette use among high school students nationwide increased to 27.5% in 2019 compared to 11.7% in 2017. Altogether more than 5.3 million middle and high school students now use e-cigarettes. In Montana, a staggering 30.2% of high school students use e-cigarettes, compared to 7.7% who smoke cigarettes. The evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes have fueled this epidemic – 97% of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month, and 70% cite flavors as the reason for their use.

The time for waiting is over. Policymakers across the nation must act now to stop Juul and other e-cigarette companies from targeting our nation’s kids with flavored, nicotine-loaded products that are addicting a new generation and threaten decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use.