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Pallone, Local Students, Public Health Advocates Applaud House Passage of His Bipartisan Legislation to End Youth Tobacco and Vaping Epidemic

March 6, 2020
Press Release

Edison, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), along with students and public health advocates, hailed the House passage of his bipartisan legislation to address the youth tobacco and vaping epidemic. The Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act would prohibit all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, ban most non-face-to-face sales for tobacco products, and protect kids from the predatory marketing of tobacco products.

According to reports, the sharp increase in tobacco use in recent years could reverse years of progress in the fight against youth tobacco use. An estimated 6.2 million American middle and high school students used some type of tobacco product last year and one in every three high school students have used a tobacco product in the last 30 days.

“Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives stood up and made it clear that we will not allow Big Tobacco to lure yet another generation into a lifetime of nicotine addiction, tobacco-related disease and death,” Congressman Pallone said. “We must stop the slick new products that are purposefully designed to get kids addicted to nicotine and have proliferated in use in recent years as manufacturers peddle enticing flavors like bubblegum, cotton candy and mango to our children with glossy advertisements. These campaigns have been so successful that Big Tobacco has rapidly reversed years of progress to bring down teen smoking rates. In just one year alone, between 2017 and 2018, e-cigarette use by high school students increased by an alarming 78 percent.”

The Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020 would:

  • prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol,
  • prohibit non-face-to-face sales of most tobacco products, including e-cigarettes
  • extend advertising restrictions that currently apply to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to all tobacco products including e-cigarettes,
  • prohibit marketing of e-cigarettes to youth, and
  • provide additional resources to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement and enforce the Tobacco Control Act.

“The Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic will save lives and protect New Jersey’s kids. This legislation will halt the sale of flavored tobacco products, which is key to stopping the epidemic,” said American Lung Association Chief Mission Officer Deborah P. Brown. “Chairman Pallone ’s leadership was vital to the passage of this bill, as the tobacco industry sought to repeatedly weaken and undermine this bill at every turn. We deeply appreciate his efforts and are proud to stand with him today.”

“With tobacco use remaining the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, we applaud Chairman Pallone for championing legislation that will save lives and protect the health of millions of Americans,” said American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Lisa Lacasse. “This is the most significant piece of tobacco legislation to be approved by the House of Representatives in more than a decade. Advancing comprehensive legislation to end the tobacco industry’s shameless targeting of communities of color with their deadly products, while also working to stem the tide on the youth e-cigarette epidemic, is a historic step forward.”

“By approving the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, the House of Representatives delivered a historic victory for kids over the tobacco industry. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds Chairman Pallone for his strong leadership in introducing and advancing this critical legislation. This bill is exactly what’s needed to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and end the tobacco industry’s long history of targeting kids and other vulnerable groups with flavored products,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

In September, Pallone’s Committee held an oversight hearing on the public health risks of e-cigarettes with officials from the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and state health officials. The Committee is also conducting an investigation into electronic cigarette manufacturers, and last month held an oversight hearing with executives from the top five e-cigarette manufacturers.