Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act (H.R. 2339), a bill to address the explosion of youth vaping and tobacco use in America.
“Over the last several years, we’ve witnessed an alarming rise of youth vaping and e-cigarette use,” said Congressman Sarbanes, an early co-sponsor of the bill who has repeatedly raised alarms about the youth vaping crisis. “Today, we’re fighting back against Big Tobacco and taking immediate steps to protect American teenagers from harmful, life-altering tobacco products.”
Youth tobacco use – driven by e-cigarettes – has soared over the last three years. From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette use doubled among high school students and tripled among middle school students. Today, more than 5.4 million middle school and high school students use e-cigarettes.
Earlier this month, the State of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs, a popular e-cigarette manufacturer, alleging that the company intentionally marketed its products to teenagers. This week, 39 states launched a joint investigation into Juul Labs’ marketing practices and its deceptive claims about nicotine.
Key provisions of the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act include:
- Prohibiting the manufacture and sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, within one year;
- Removing all flavored e-cigarettes from the market within 30 days;
- Making it unlawful to market, advertise or promote e-cigarette products to individuals under 21 years of age;
- Directing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit online sales of certain tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories;
- Requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue an annual report to Congress on the domestic sales, advertising and promotional activities of cigarette, cigar, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturers;
- Investing in evidence-based smoking cessation programs for medically underserved communities;
- Awarding grants to make tobacco cessation therapies and counseling available at Community Health Centers; and,
- Reducing youth tobacco use by closing a tax loophole for e-cigarettes.