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Pallone’s Legislation to End Youth Vaping Epidemic Passes House

February 28, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) applauded House passage of his legislation to address the youth 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 nicotine use. An estimated 6.2 million American middle and high school students used some type of tobacco product last year. One in every three high school students have used a tobacco product in the last 30 days.

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.

“Today, the House stood up and said we will not allow Big Tobacco to prey upon our children with slick new products, purposefully designed to get kids addicted to nicotine. Unfortunately, these products 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. That’s why we came together to pass a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to tackle the youth tobacco epidemic underway in America today,” said Congressman Pallone.

“I thank the more than one hundred organizations that supported this lifesaving legislation including the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the NAACP and the National Medical Association. Together, we sent a clear message to Big Tobacco today: we will not stand by while you attempt to lure yet another generation into a lifetime of nicotine addiction, tobacco-related disease and death,” Pallone concluded.

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

“The Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Act is a win-win for lung health,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “It will help stem the epidemic by preventing youth tobacco use and making sure smokers – especially those in minority communities – have the help they need to quit smoking for good. It will also help make asthma medications more affordable. Now it is up to the U.S. Senate to continue to move this legislation forward into law.”

“The New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN) would like to thank Congressman Pallone for his continued efforts toward keeping our youth safe and healthy and express our support for H.R. 2339 – the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020,” said Diane Litterer, CEO and Executive Director of New Jersey Prevention Network. “The explosion of e-cigarette use among our youth has been undermining our efforts to reduce tobacco use and putting a new generation of kids at risk of nicotine addiction and the serious health harms that result from tobacco use. NJPN commends Congressman Pallone for his leadership on this life saving bill.”

“Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes is thrilled by the House passage of the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019. As a national grassroots parents group, we have seen firsthand the enormous toll that the youth vaping epidemic has taken on so many American families. We also know that not only flavored e-cigarettes but all flavored tobacco products hook kids across the country, leading to nicotine addiction that harms developing brains and lungs,” said Meredith Berkman and Dorian Fuhrman, Co-Founders of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes. “We are profoundly grateful to Chairman Frank Pallone for his leadership and unshakeable commitment to fighting for legislation that protects young people in all communities from the predatory behavior of Big Tobacco, an industry that is using flavors to create a new generation of customers for its dangerous products.”

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 earlier this month held an oversight hearing with executives from the top five e-cigarette manufacturers.

Pallone spoke on the House Floor in favor of the legislation. Video of his remarks is available here.