(WASHINGTON, D.C.)--Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Reps. Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) and Diana DeGette (CO-01), top Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and 53 House colleagues in sending a letter to the Trump Administration demanding a complete ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
Adolescent use of e-cigarettes has reached alarming levels in the United States. In 2019, the National Youth Tobacco Survey found that more than 5 million kids used e-cigarettes, a jump from 3.6 million in 2018. E-cigarette use carries significant health risks for teenagers such as hampering healthy brain development and increasing the risk of substance use disorders.
In response to this public health crisis, the Trump Administration implemented a policy on January 2, 2020, which left a concerning number of e-cigarette products on the market despite the President’s proclamation on September 11, 2019 to “clear the markets” of all flavored e-cigarettes.
“As one of the first voices in Congress to call for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, I am deeply disappointed with the Trump Administration’s watered-down policy,” said Rep. Engel. “Instead of protecting our children, President Trump has caved to Big Tobacco, putting another generation of young Americans at risk of nicotine addiction. Congress should immediately pass legislation banning flavored e-cigarettes.”
“The data shows that once a teen starts using flavored vaping products – such as bubble gum, cotton candy or tutti-frutti – their chances of becoming addicted to nicotine nearly doubles,” said Rep. DeGette. “We must do more to protect our teens from the dangers of e-cigarettes.”
“The Trump Administration plan on flavored e-cigarettes falls far short of what is needed to protect the health of our nation’s youth. Keeping menthol-flavored Juul and thousands of flavors of e-cigarettes like those sold in vape shops on the market will continue to addict kids,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “We greatly appreciate the continued leadership of Representatives Engel and DeGette. Flavors have one role: attracting kids to deadly tobacco products.”
This letter builds on Congressman Engel’s longstanding advocacy to reduce youth tobacco use. On July 25, 2019, he introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Smoke Free-Schools Act, which bans vaping in schools and childcare facilities. On November 11, 2019, the Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, which contained provisions authored by Congressman Engel, that would ensure federal public health awareness campaigns on the harms of tobacco use include programming for individuals between the ages of 18 and 21.
A signed copy of the letter is available here.