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Legislature Kills Tobacco Industry-Friendly Bill on Flavored E-Cigarettes; Connecticut Still Needs to Finish the Job and Protect Kids

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – By killing a bad bill on flavored e-cigarettes, the Connecticut Legislature did the right thing for kids instead of doing the bidding for Juul and Altria. The last version of the measure was riddled with major industry-friendly loopholes and did not protect kids by eliminating the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes that over a quarter of Connecticut’s kids currently use.

Gov. Ned Lamont and Public Health Committee Chairs Sen. Mary Daugherty Abrams and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg provided strong leadership throughout the process, especially in the session’s waning days when the tobacco industry and its cronies sought to push the bad measure through as part of the state’s annual budget package. They successfully pushed back against the industry and its legislative allies who tried to advance their vehicle behind closed doors at the last minute. We particularly applaud Governor Lamont for making this issue a priority for the past two sessions. We look forward to working with him and legislative leaders to ultimately enact a policy that protects Connecticut’s kids, not companies like Juul that created the youth e-cigarette epidemic.

Connecticut’s neighbors – New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey – have all ended the sale of flavored e-cigarettes without a laundry list of exemptions to benefit the tobacco industry. We urge the Legislature when they next come into session to remove all exemptions and loopholes and do its utmost to protect Connecticut’s kids, promote health equity and defend public health.

While legislation eliminating flavored e-cigarettes is urgently needed, we strongly urge the Legislature to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars – products the tobacco industry has long targeted at kids and Black Americans at great cost in lives and health. It is time to end the tobacco industry’s predatory targeting of kids, Black communities and other groups with flavored products once and for all.

A recent poll showed that by a 40-point margin (67% to 27%), voters believe Connecticut should join neighboring states Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey in prohibiting the sale of flavored e-cigarette and vaping products that target kids. By a 25-point margin (59% to 34%), voters also want Connecticut to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products that can appeal to kids – including menthol cigarettes.