Washington — The U.S. House of Representatives Feb. 28 passed a comprehensive bill designed to address the youth tobacco epidemic.
HR 2339, the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020, bans the majority of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including mint and menthol, and imposes a tax on the nicotine in e-cigarettes. It also calls for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate vaping devices and liquids in the same manner the agency regulates cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Ahead of the vote, the Association sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reiterating its support for the legislation.
“We are alarmed by recent efforts to characterize a new generation of nicotine products as being less harmful than cigarettes, particularly electronic nicotine delivery systems,” wrote ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin. “While the oral health effects of vaping are not fully studied, there is some evidence that vaping is associated with first-time and continuing tobacco use.”
“The ADA supports regulating deemed tobacco products, including vaping devices and liquids, in the same way that FDA regulates cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products. HR 2339 provides an avenue for doing that,” the letter concluded.
The ADA was also part of a coalition along with 75 other stakeholders that championed the legislation. The group — known as the Partners for Effective Tobacco Policy — is chaired by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association.
“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,” said Matthew L. Meyers, president, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement.
In December 2019, the ADA Board of Trustees adopted an interim policy directing the Association to “advocate for regulatory, legislative, and/or legal action at the federal and/or state levels to ban the sale and distribution of all e-cigarette and vaping products, with the exception of those approved by the FDA for tobacco cessation purposes and made available by prescription only.” It also calls on the ADA to advocate for research funding to study the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes and vaping products for tobacco cessation purposes and their effects on the oral cavity.
For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/tobacco.