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Connecticut Needs to Fix or Kill Tobacco Industry-Friendly Bill On Flavored E-Cigarettes; Legislators Need to Protect Kids

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
April 22, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Make no mistake about what happened today in Connecticut: Big Tobacco won again. The Finance Committee put the interests of Big Tobacco ahead of kids’ health by effectively gutting the effort to end the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes. 

Senate Chair John Fonfara pushed through a tobacco industry loophole that will allow flavored e-cigarettes – including kid-friendly flavors like gummy bear, mango tango, mint and menthol – to continue to be sold throughout Connecticut in vape and smoke shops, which defeats the entire purpose of the legislation. With the loophole, this bill will not remove any of the flavored e-cigarettes from the market in Connecticut that fueled the youth e-cigarette epidemic, allowing the youth nicotine addiction crisis to continue unabated. In Connecticut, 27% of high school students use e-cigarettes, and Sen. Fonfara’s amendment will do nothing to turn the tide in the fight against youth tobacco use.

While the final vote on the amendment was close, 20 members of the committee did not even show up to vote, allowing a bill that would have protected kids from addiction to be turned into one that instead protects industry profits. The Senate must fix this bill by removing this industry loophole at the earliest opportunity. If not, they should kill the bill outright. Passing this bill in its current form would represent the worst in government – creating a policy that does nothing meaningful to solve a problem, while allowing legislators to claim that they did.